Mohan Lal Verma/Shimla, Dec 9

The newly elected Congress legislators are going to huddle to elect a new Chief minister here today on return to power after a gap of five years attaining absolute majority in the 68 Assembly seat Vidhan Sabha Election.

Chattisgarh Chief minister Bhupesh Bhagel, Haryana former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda and the party in charge arrived at Himachal Pradesh Bhawan Chandigarh yesterday to manage the crisis of leadership and check horse-trading.
The party spokesperson stated today that earlier, all were to meet at Chandigarh, but now AICC changed the gameplan after smelling easy transfer of power. “As Chief minister Jai Ram Thakur tendered his resignation last night, there seems no threat of horse trading, therefore Bhagel, Hooda and Shukla have now scheduled to arrive at Shimla by air from Chandigarh and meet all party-elected MLAs at Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan the state party headquarters in the afternoon,” they stated.
It was learnt that in Himachal Pradesh Congress chief Pratibha Singh and her elected son Vikramaditya may assert themselves for the CM office as they made it clear yesterday that the party returned to power in Himachal Pradesh on the legacy of former chief minister Virbhadra Singh and role of Singh family to work tirelessly to assure the victory of candidates in all 68 Assembly Constituency could not be ignored.
Pratibha Singh stated that choice of electing any legislator to a top state post would be made by meeting central observers at Chandigarh as a meeting was convened in the UT yesterday.
With the defeat of stalwarts like Kaul Singh Thakur, Ram Lal Thakur and Asha Kumari, only four or five aspirants are left who could be a suitable choices for the CM post. AICC and Choice of MLAs are likely to be essential, and the party may tread cautiously to avoid factionalism giving any lee-away over detection as BJP is short to power by a mere seven MLAs.
As three independent MLAs are likely to go with BJP if Congress cannot manage the leadership crisis amicably, it may become a roadblock for INC. The victory of four Congress MLAs in home turfs, i.e. Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu and Mukesh Agnihotri, Chander Kumar, Sudhir Sharma and Solan district of Dhani Ram Shandil have increased the burden on AICC to elect a new CM face keeping in mind damage control and the flocks together while forming the government.
Also, with the victory of the number of MLAs for the fifth and sixth term, the party is facing a stiff challenge of aspirants for cabinet berths as with CM cabinet size should not be more than 12 plus two to four Speaker and Deputy Speaker chief Whips etc.
Now the state is watching the handling of the power transfer crisis before the victorious Congress, which also lacks erudite leadership and competent Crisis managers. It is being hoped that the power lobbies, which are also strong with Pratibha Singh, may create trouble for AICC if it would assert for CM beyond dynastic politics.
AICC, during the Election Campaign, which gave weightage to Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu and Mukesh Agnihotri, is keeping Virbhadra Singh’s family in the playback stage so far.
In 2017 when BJP succeeded in getting two third majority under the leadership of Prem Kumar Dhumal, it quickly transferred power to Jai Ram Thakur, who was elected out of the blue after Dhumal’s defeat. Perhaps a similar formula may be adopted by Congress legislative party and AICC to keep the flock moving in a uniform direction.


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