After a prolonged delay, Himachal Pradesh to get new Ministers

CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu says he has submitted a list of 10 legislators to Congress ‘high command’; party leadership had reservations over finalising all names in one go

January 07, 2023 10:47 pm | Updated January 08, 2023 10:48 am IST - CHANDIGARH

Shimla: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu arrives, in Shimla, on Jan. 7, 2023.

Shimla: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu arrives, in Shimla, on Jan. 7, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

The suspense over the much-awaited Cabinet formation in Himachal Pradesh was finally over as the Governor will administer the oath to new ministers on Sunday in Shimla.

Himachal Pradesh Governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar will at 10 a.m. administer the oath of office and secrecy to the new ministers, who will be part of the Cabinet. The exact number of ministers who will be inducted into the Cabinet is still unclear.

After returning from New Delhi, Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu told The Hindu that he has submitted the list of ten legislators to the party’s ‘high command’. “..Once the party high command clears the names, the Cabinet will be formed,” he said.

A party source privy to the matter said that the party ‘high command’ had reservations over finalising all the ten names at one go, which has been causing the delay. There is a sense within the ‘high command’ that initially, six to eight ministers should be inducted, and later on, the Cabinet could be expanded, said the source, adding that the party is likely to clear the names of ministers by Saturday evening/night itself and the Cabinet could be formed as soon as by Sunday. 

There can be a maximum of 12 ministers in Himachal Pradesh, including the Chief Minister. On December 11, Mr. Sukhu took oath as the Chief Minister of the State and Mukesh Agnihotri as Deputy Chief Minister, and since then the Cabinet expansion is awaited. The Chief Minister has been asserting that Cabinet formation will be done according to the guidelines of the party ‘high command’. Party insiders say that Chief Minister had several rounds of deliberations with the ‘high command’ over the cabinet but yet consensus has not emerged on a few names.

The delay in the Cabinet formation has only increased the anxiousness not just among the probable MLAs, who had been lobbying for ministerial berths, but also the people across the State.

The Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been cornering the new government, pointing out that “all is not well” within the Congress and that is causing the delay. The Chief Minister, though, has dismissed allegations of infighting.

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