Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu to be new Himachal Pradesh CM, Mukesh Agnihotri Deputy CM
The swearing-in ceremony will take place on Sunday which will be attended by senior leaders including party chief Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi
Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu, a four-time MLA and chairman of the Congress' state election campaign committee, will be the new CM of Himachal Pradesh, while Mukesh Agnihotri will be his deputy.
The party's central observers announced the election of 58-year-old Sukhu after the meeting of the Congress legislature party on Saturday evening.
The swearing-in ceremony will take place on Sunday and senior leaders including party chief Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi will attend.
The party's central observers along with Sukhu, Pratibha Singh and other leaders called on Governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar and staked claim to form the government.
"I am from a humble background and started my political career from the grassroots at the age of 17... I am here to win the hearts and fulfill all the poll promises made by the Congress," Sukhu told reporters.
Son of a road transport corporation driver, Sukhu had a modest beginning and used to run a milk counter at Chhota Shimla in his early days. He was the general secretary of the state unit of the Congress-affiliated National Students' Union of India (NSUI) and later became the president of the student body. He did his MA and LLB from Himachal Pradesh University and was elected twice as councillor of Shimla Municipal Corporation.
He won the assembly election for the first time in 2003 from Nadaun, retained the seat in 2007 but was defeated in 2012 and won again in 2017 and 2022
"I express my gratitude to Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi for giving me this responsibility and thank the people of the state for their support," the chief minister-designate said.
Replying to a question, he said that Agnihotri was "like a brother and we would work together for the development of the state and welfare of the weaker section".
Leader of the opposition in the outgoing Assembly Mukesh Agnihotri was among the frontrunners for the top post.
Sukhu remained the party's state unit president for a record six years from 2013 to 2019.
Party sources indicated that former CM late Virbhadra Singh's son Vikramaditya Singh may be included in the Cabinet. Pratibha Singh is an MP from Mandi and did not contest the assembly election.
Sukhu later paid a courtesy visit to outgoing CM Jairam Thakur.
Meanwhile, celebrations started at the house of Sukhu in Nadaun, with people bursting crackers and dancing. This is the second time that Hamirpur district has got a chief minister after BJP's Prem Kumar Dhumal.
The Congress wrested power from the BJP in the hill state, winning 40 of the 68 assembly seats. The polling was held on November 12 and the results were declared on Thursday.