Himachal Pradesh Governor Urmila Singh will administer the oath of office to the newly elected leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) as the next Chief Minister of the State on December 25 at the historic Ridge Maidan here.
Virbhadra Singh was elected as the leader of the CLP in a late-night development on Saturday after the All India Congress Committee (AICC) president Sonia Gandhi agreed on the feedback sent by party observers Janardhan Dwivedi and Sheila Dixit.
The in-charge of party affairs in Himachal, Birender Chaudhary, on Sunday formally handed over the letter of election of Mr. Singh as the new CLP leader to the Governor. He was accompanied by another organisational in-charge, Anis Ahmed, and other State party leaders. Meanwhile, drama marked the election of the CLP leader, and Mr. Singh was declared the winner due to his better management and the utter weakness and limitations of his opponents for the top post.
Exactly along the lines of his number game rivalry in the past, first with Mr. Sukhram in 1993 and then with Vidya Stokes in 2003, he proved to be better again in 2012, against the meek and half-hearted efforts of Mr. Kaul Singh Thakur supported by Asha Kumari and G.S. Bali from Kangra.
These leaders tried to convince the AICC to look for the chief minister somewhere else in the State, rather than the ever-dominating Shimla district. Surprisingly, this time Kangra district has 10 MLAs (the maximum number by any district) of Congress against just three of the BJP. Five MLAs have even come from Mr. Kaul Singh’s Mandi district, the second largest after Kangra, but to no avail, rued Kangra leaders. The personal rivalries of the leaders from these districts are stated to be the main reason for the lack of shift of power to these areas of the new Himachal. These areas were added to the hill State of Himachal from Punjab after the reorganisation of States.
Since then, the BJP has raised the issue of discrimination by the Congress that has intentionally kept the leadership intact in the old Himachal areas. All long-serving Congress Chief Ministers — including Dr. Y.S. Parmar, Ramlal Thakur and Virbhadra Singh — thus far belong to the old Himachal. BJP CMs Shanta Kumar and Prem Kumar Dhumal belonged to the newly merged areas of the State.
BJP spokesperson Ashok Kapatia said factionalism, the rebel-Lokhit Party, and wrong ticket distribution had led to its defeat.