Himachal: Pratibha Singh is a Lok Sabha MP and belongs to the former royal family.


After the victory in Himachal Pradesh, the Congress has called a meeting of its MLAs today to elect its next chief minister.

Congress has at least four candidates to choose from, so it will not be easy.

This meeting will be held at Radisson Hotel in Shimla.

The frontrunner in the race is Congress' Himachal Pradesh chief Pratibha Singh, wife of Virbhadra Singh, the tallest Congress leader in the hill state until his death last year.

Pratibha Singh is the Lok Sabha MP from Mandi and belongs to a former royal family.

He did not contest the election, but effectively led the Congress campaign.

She boasts of the support of Congress legislators loyal to her husband Virbhadra Singh, who led the party in Himachal Pradesh for more than three decades.

Her son Vikramaditya Singh, who contested and won from Shimla Rural, told NDTV yesterday, "As a son, I want Pratibha ji to have a bigger responsibility. Apart from being a son, I am also a responsible member of the party." I am also a leader. That's why we will respect whatever decision the party takes. I am sure the party will take care of what the people want.

He said, "We have to follow the path shown by Virbhadra ji. The government will work on 'Virbhadra Singh Vikas Model'. He must be smiling in heaven today."

Besides him, there are three other contenders, former state chief Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu, Congress Legislature Party leader in the outgoing assembly Mukesh Agnihotri and Harshvardhan Chauhan.

The party is also afraid of BJP's "Operation Lotus".

Mukesh Agnihotri believes that he deserves the top post to firmly put forward the party's position in the state assembly.

There are other names in this too.

Former state Congress chief Kuldeep Singh Rathore claims that he brought together the deeply divided party over the years.

Rathore was replaced as chief by Pratibha Singh a few months ago.

It is said that many Congress leaders contested the elections in the hope that they would be elected as the Chief Minister.

He also used it while campaigning in his constituencies.

BJP leaders like Union Home Minister Amit Shah ridiculed the crowd of 'Chief Ministers' in the Congress.

Amid concerns of the Congress that the race for the CM's post would turn bitter, the leaders considered taking the newly elected MLAs to Chandigarh or Raipur.

But after the party got a clear majority, the plan was shelved.

The Congress has won 40 of the 68 seats, five more than the majority mark, and the BJP has won 25.

For now, the Congress believes that the BJP's 'poaching' efforts will not succeed.

Himachal Pradesh Congress in-charge Rajeev Shukla, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and senior leader Bhupinder Hooda will attend the meeting in Shimla.

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