Govt will work for development of Himachal: CM designate

Expressing gratitude to the Gandhi family, Himachal Pradesh designated Chief Minister and Congress leader Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu on Saturday said the government would work for the development of the state.

“Our government will bring change. We will work for the development of Himachal Pradesh,” Sukhu, who started his political career at the age of 18, told the media in his first statement after being named the new Chief Minister.

His appointment was approved by party national President Mallikarjun Kharge.

Four-time legislator Mukesh Agnihotri will be the Deputy Chief Minister.

Their oath of office will be held in the state capital on Sunday at 11 a.m. with the induction of Council of Ministers later as per the discretion of the Chief Minister.

“I am thankful to Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi and the people of the state. It is my responsibility to fulfil promises we made to the people of Himachal Pradesh,” an emotional Sukhu said.

Responding to Sukhu’s appointment, former Union minister Anand Sharma said it was a matter of pride that the son of an ordinary family will be “our CM. Thanks to our leadership, Sonia Gandhi, Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi for leading a spirited campaign”.

Accepting the party leadership decision, state unit chief Pratibha Singh, who was the frontrunner for the top job, said: “We accept the decision of the high command.”

Pratibha Singh is the wife of six-time chief minister late Virbhadra Singh, while Sukhu is a four-time MLA from Nandaun, who is a known rival of her husband.

Born on March 27, 1964, Sukhu has never ever been a minister or Chief Parliamentary Secretary and a Chairman of a board or corporation in his political career.

Journalist-turned-politician Mukesh Agnihotri, 60, is the Deputy Chief Minister designate. He retained his stronghold Haroli in Una district, the seat he earlier represented thrice — 2007, 2012 and 2017.

The Congress on December 8 got an absolute majority in the Assembly elections, winning 40 seats — six over than the half-way mark of 34 in the 68-member House, while the outgoing BJP was reduced to 25.

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