While the Himachal Pradesh assembly poll results are a fortnight away, many top leaders of the party’s state unit are camping in Delhi to secure the chair of chief minister. A senior party leader told ANI, that the Congress would bag 42 to 48 assembly seats of the total 68 assembly seats in the state. Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu and Asha Kumari are believed to be top contenders this time.
‘Party cites internal survey’
Citing internal survey, the Congress claims it would secure a majority in Himachal Pradesh. Some surveys, however, showed the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) returning to power despite losing some vote share. In the 2017 elections, the BJP won 44 of 68 seats, while the Congress won 21 seats.
Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu is top among the aspirants
Eyeing the CM post, Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu and former HP Congress Committee president, who is considered to be a strongman from the Thakur community, has already met Congress’s top brass. He is said to be engaging with other leaders as well. Sukhu also served as the chief of the Youth Congress and the National Students Union of India (NSUI). He wasn’t on good terms with former CM Virbhadra Singh, whose wife and son are also in the fray. After becoming HP’s CM in 1983, Virbhadra dominated the Congress’s state unit and clinched the chair every time the party came to power. Now, his wife and Congress MP from Mandi, Pratibha Singh, is planning to visit the national capital along with her MLA son Vikramaditya. Pratibha became the state unit’s president even before elections, while Vikramaditya has been fielded for the second time.
Asha Kumari also in the fray
Contesting her ninth election, Congress MLA Asha Kumari has fought in Dalhousie with subtle reminders of her royal lineage. There were aggressive campaigns for her across the constituency. “Asha Kumari sab pe bhaari,” reads the slogan on badges put up by Congress workers on their chests, according to Indian Express. She belonged to the state’s royal family. She also wasn’t on good terms with Virbhadra. If she wins a seventh term now, she could claim the CM post. Notably, Kumari is the sister of TS Singh Deo, the health minister of Chhattisgarh and a Congress leader. The party’s high command allegedly promised him the Chhattisgarh CM’s chair for the second half of its regime but didn’t fulfill it.