Pratibha Singh picked as Himachal Pradesh Congress chief

Pratibha Singh picked as Himachal Pradesh Congress chief

2022-04-27 00:34:15

Aditi Tandon

New Delhi, April 26

With a few months to go for the Himachal Assembly poll, the Congress today revamped the party organisation, appointing Mandi MP Pratibha Singh, wife of late stalwart Virbhadra Singh, as the state unit chief, and named four working chiefs to assist her.

Revamp before polls

  • Four working presidents to assist Pratibha Singh
  • Four-time legislator Mukesh stays CLP leader
  • Former state unit chief Sukhwinder Sukhu to head campaign committee

The four working chiefs named by party president Sonia Gandhi are Harsh Mahajan; Rajinder Rana (who had defeated ex-CM Prem Kumar Dhumal); Pawan Kajal from Kangra, and Vinay Kumar from Sirmaur.

Caste and regional balance has been kept in mind during the revamp, party sources said. Four-time MLA Mukesh Agnihotri has been retained as Congress legislature party leader while senior lawmaker Harshvardhan Chauhan will be deputy CLP leader.

Former state unit president Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu has been appointed the state campaign committee chairman with an additional role as AICC screening committee member as and when the candidate selection process for the elections begins. Anand Sharma, former deputy leader of the Congress in Rajya Sabha, will head the steering committee which includes Asha Kumari as convener, Dhani Ram Shandil and outgoing state unit chief Kuldeep Rathore as members. The steering panel has 10 members.

Dhani Ram Shandil will chair the manifesto panel while former state chief Kaul Singh Thakur will head the coordination committee.

The election management committee will be chaired by Ram Lal Thakur.

The Tribune has learnt that the decision to pick Pratibha Singh came after the Congress put a condition that the PCC chief appointee “should not contest the upcoming MLA election.”

The panel of potential PCC chief candidates included Pratibha Singh, Mukesh Agnihotri and Sukhu, with the last two conveying to the party their intention to contest the upcoming Assembly poll.

It is further learnt that the Congress weighed the pros and cons of appointing Pratibha Singh as state president since the BJP has been vociferously targeting dynastic politics.

“It was felt that the legacy of the six-time CM Virbhadra Singh was larger than any other consideration. Also, the fact that Pratibha Singh is from Jai Ram Thakur’s home segment Mandi will help,” an AICC source said.

The list also includes Jagat Singh Negi as the chief whip; Rajesh Sharma as treasurer and six vice-presidents.

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