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Virbhadra Singh to be Himachal CM

March 04, 2003 22:25 IST

Virbhadra Singh will be the chief minister of Himachal Pradesh with the Congress legislative party on Tuesday unanimously electing him as its leader.

Pradesh Congress Committee Vidya Stokes, one of the frontrunners for the post, proposed his name.

Overcoming a mild challenge, senior Congress leader Virbhadra Singh was on Tuesday unanimously elected leader of the party's legislature group in Himachal Pradesh paving the way for his becoming the state's next chief minister.

His name was proposed by PCC president Vidya Stokes, considered a stronger contender for the top post, and seconded by Gangu Ram and Rangila Ram Rao.

Singh (69) is likely to be sworn in as chief minister on Thursday.

He would leave for Delhi on Wednesday for consultations with Congress president Sonia Gandhi on the composition of his ministry. He would begin with a small ministry and gradually expand it.

The deck for Singh's election as CLP leader was cleared following a series of confabulations AICC observers R K Dhawan and Moti Lal Vohra had with him and Stokes and several other state party leaders since Tuesday morning.

By noon, it was more or less clear that Singh would be the unanimous choice at the CLP meeting, which was without any fireworks, in contrast to the charged mood of supporters of the two leaders before the meeting when they raised slogans against each other and a possible clash was averted by police which dispersed the rival groups.

AICC member in charge of the state Mohsina Kidwai told reporters after the CLP meeting that Singh's name for the CM's post had Sonia Gandhi's approval.

She said all the Congress MLAs conveyed to the observers that they would abide by the high command's decision on the leadership issue.

Meanwhile, Singh met Governor Suraj Bhan and staked claim to form the government.

The party also clarified that the corruption case pending against Virbhadra Singh would not come in the way of his becoming the chief minister.

"He has not been disqualified. His qualification will depend upon the wishes of the legislators," party spokesman S Jaipal Reddy told reporters in Shimla.

Reddy offered the clarification when it was pointed out that the Congress was demanding Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati's resignation on corruption charges.

Even while admitting that he was not aware of the nature and scope of the case against Singh, Reddy said it was different from that concerning Mayawati.

(c) Copyright 2003 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.

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Number of User Comments: 1

Sub: Veerbhadra to be Himachal CM

This is a wrong decision Mrs. Stokes would have been a better choice as she is dynamic , younger, and appears to be modern. She ...

Posted by satish


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