Late Virbhadra Singh’s wife Pratibha appointed Himachal Cong president

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With Assembly polls round the corner in Himachal Pradesh, the Congress has announced Mandi MP Pratibha Singh, the wife of late stalwart Virbhadra Singh, as the HP congress president, interestingly with four working chiefs to assist her. She will be replacing Kuldeep Singh Rathore.

Four-time MLA Mukesh Agnihotri has been retained as Congress Legislature Party Leader while senior lawmaker Harshvardhan Chauhan will be deputy CLP leader.

Ex-state unit president Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu has been appointed the state campaign committee chairman with an additional role as AICC screening committee member as and when the candidate selection process for elections begins.

Anand Sharma, the former deputy leader of Congress in Rajya Sabha, will head the steering committee which includes former AICC in-charge Punjab and senior MLA Asha Kumari as convener, Dhani Ram Shandil and outgoing state unit chief Kuldeep Rathore as members. The steering panel has 10 members.

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Dhaniram Shandil will chair the manifesto panel while former state chief Kaul Singh Thakur will head the coordination committee.

The election management committee will be chaired by Ram Lal Thakur.

The four Himachal working presidents named by party president Sonia Gandhi are Harsh Mahajan; Rajinder Rana (who had defeated former CM Prem Kumar Dhumal); Pawan Kajal, a senior face from Kangra and Vinay Kumar from Sirmaur.

According to a news report, 66-year-old Pratibha, a third-term Lok Sabha MP from Mandi, was picked up PCC chief on the condition that she would not “not contest the upcoming MLA election”.

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The panel of potential PCC chief candidates included Pratibha Singh, Mukesh Agnihotri and Sukhu, with the latter two expressing the desire to contest the upcoming assembly polls.

Sukhu, who is a third-term legislator from Nadaun, has served as state president of the National Students Union of India (NSUI), the student wing of Congress and was also the state party chief. Mukesh Agnihotri is a four-time legislator from Una.