Sukhwinder Sukhu: Congress course correction, picks organisation over legacy

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, December 10: Seeking to be future ready, Congress has accorded primacy to organisation over legacy, as the party high command picked up party’s campaign committee chairman in Himachal Pradesh Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu as the legislative party leader, who would take oath as Chief Minister of the hilly state on Sunday. Also, Congress struck a balance by replicating the BJP model of Uttar Pradesh with a deputy chief minister Mukesh Agnihotri.

Congress has acted with speed to deny any scope to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to attempt any reverse engineering on the electoral mandate in Himachal Pradesh. The leadership tussle in Himachal Pradesh was split three ways among Pratibha Singh, the spouse of late Virbhadra Singh, former CM of the state, Mukesh Agnihotri, leaders of Opposition in the state Assembly and Sukhu. They all had their reasons for claims, and Singh bared her desperation by getting supporters to make a show of strength ahead of the legislature party meeting.

But Congress high command was clear, and hints were dropped after the Gujarat verdict when the party’s communication department chief Jairam Ramesh had squarely blamed the organisation for the poll rout. That was a clear hint that the party will consider organisation and step back on celebrating legacy. Also, Congress by choosing Sukhu has denied any scope for rebellion in its ranks in Himachal Pradesh, while also rewarding the performance of the emerging leader. Sukhu, an MLA from Nadaun Assembly constituency, has previously been the state unit chief of the party.

With the Gandhis staying away from the limelight, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge with his emissaries – Bhupesh Baghel, Chhattisgarh CM, and Rajiv Shukla – sorted the leadership issue in Himachal Pradesh amicably. Pratibha Singh sought the position of deputy CM for her son Vikramaditya Singh from the party leadership. Sukhu worked closely with the Congress national general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra during the election campaign, and mobilised the workers. He hails from Hamirpur district, and his elevation as the CM of Himachal Pradesh may counter the influence of former chief minister Pawan Kumar Dhumal and his son Anurag Thakur, who is a Union Minister in the Narendra Modi government at the Centre.

By picking Sukhu, Congress has also sent a clear message that the party will henceforth promote leaders who have strong organisational skills and may clip wings of legacy entitled leaders. Congress won 40 Assembly seats in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections, while the party is also claiming the support of three independents, who won the polls. With 43 MLAs on its side, Congress may seek to offer a stable government in the hilly states, which has 68 Assembly seats.

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1 thought on “Sukhwinder Sukhu: Congress course correction, picks organisation over legacy

  1. Detailed coverage on Congress stand in Himachal after gaining majority. Choosing Sukhu as CM and a deputy CM position, seems to be a master stroke from their side.
    – Following organizational skills and competency over legacy would help congress in reshaping them and come back…..Good luck to them.

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