Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu: Congress leader Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, who climbed the political ladder up from the grassroots level in Himachal Pradesh, took oath as the 15th Chief Minister of the hilly state at a ceremony in Shimla on Sunday (December 11). The oath-taking ceremony took place at around 1:30 pm at Raj Bhavan.
Know more about new Himachal CM: DETAILS
- A product of student politics, senior Congress leader and four-time MLA Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu was a known detractor of party veteran Virbhadra Singh who had dominated Himachal Pradesh politics for over five decades until his demise last year
- A loyalist of the Gandhi family, Sukhu is a four-time MLA (58) and former chief of Congress in the state
- Sukhu is popularly known as an affable and approachable leader who has a vast network in the hill state due to his long years in the organisation
- Sukhu holds a broad organisational experience in the state owing to his connection with the grand old party for many years
- Son of a road transport corporation driver, Sukhu, 58, had a modest beginning and used to run a milk counter at Chhota Shimla in his early days
- He was the party's state unit president from 2013 to 2019 and spoke his mind even if it was not to the liking of the party's tallest leader Virbhadra Singh, a six-time Chief Minister
- Sukhu has been in favour of promoting and grooming younger Congress leaders in Himachal Pradesh. With Congress chief ministers over the past four decades coming from Rampur Bushahr, Congress central leadership was apparently keen to expand its choice
- Sukhu is the first Congress leader from Lower Himachal- comprising areas merged in Himachal in 1966 such as Nalagarh, Una, Hamirpur, Kangra and lower hills of Kullu- to occupy the top post
- Sukhu belongs to a middle-class family. He was active in politics from his student days and fought elections as an NSUI candidate. He was president of NSUI and the Indian Youth Congress in the state
- He fought and won elections for Shimla Municipal Corporation. Sukhu won the assembly election for the first time in 2003 from Nadaun
- Sukhu was chairman of the Congress Campaign Committee for the assembly elections in which the party focused on local issues and made lucrative promises including an old age pension scheme. He is the second chief minister from Hamirpur district after BJP's Prem Kumar Dhumal
- Sukhu was the general secretary of the state unit of the Congress-affiliated National Students' Union of India
- He did his MA and LLB from Himachal Pradesh University
- Rising from the grassroots, he 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.
Himachal CM oath-taking ceremony:
With the party bagging its first victory in the hill state without the charismatic presence of Virbhadra Singh, Sukhu's swearing-in as chief minister makes it clear that the party is ready to move on. More so, as the party did not give in to the strong claim to the post mounted by Pratibha Singh, the party's state unit chief and wife of Virbhadra Singh.
The old rivalry came to the fore again after the party wrested power from the BJP in the just-concluded assembly polls, with both Sukhu and Pratibha Singh staking claim to the chief minister's post.
But the party high command, after deliberations with newly elected MLAs, picked Sukhu. He is the seventh person to hold the post in the state. The Nadaun MLA, who is considered close to Rahul Gandhi and was the Congress campaign committee head, was unanimously elected leader of the Congress Legislature Party on Saturday.
That he enjoys the confidence of the party high command was clear when he was appointed chairman of the Congress election campaign committee and a large number of his supporters got party tickets, party insiders say. During his tenure as the state Congress chief, he strengthened the organisation and his rapport with workers and legislators made him a strong contender for the chief minister's post, they said.
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 Thursday. This was the first state election since the demise of Virbhadra Singh in July 2021.
(With agencies inputs)
ALSO READ: WATCH | Celebrations begin at Sukhvinder Sukhu's native place Nadaun after he is named Himachal CM