Himachal elections: Virbhadra Singh is Congress’ CM candidate, says Sukhu; rules out being in ‘race for cabinet’ post

Sukhu said the Congress was all set to form the government, claiming that a higher voting percentage in the state was a clear reflection of anti-incumbency against the Narendra Modi government.

By: Express News Service | Shimla | Updated: November 13, 2017 7:42 pm
 himachal pradesh elections 2017, himachal polls, Sukhwinder Sukhu, Congress, BJP, Virbhadra Singh, Prem Dhumal, narendra modi, rahul gandhi, indian express Himachal Pradesh Congress president Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu (Express photo by Lalit Kumar)

Predicting a ‘comfortable’ majority for Congress, state party chief Sukhwinder Sukhu on Monday said only Virbhadra Singh is party’s Chief Ministerial candidate, and his name stands already approved by AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi, which PCC has also endorsed.

He also denied being in the race for the cabinet berth in the new government. “No !.I am not aspiring to join the cabinet”, Sukhu said.

Addressing a press conference, first-time after the polling, PCC president said the Congress was all set to form the government, claiming that a higher voting percentage in the state was a clear reflection of anti-incumbency against the Narendra Modi government.

On twin issue of GST and demonetisation, youths and women have voted in full strength to convey their anger against the central government, Sukhu added.

“Party’s internal survey, after the voting show, the congress will get 40 to 42 seats with three to four independents winning the seats. It’s going to be a Congress government in place after December 18 contrary to BJP’s tall claims and high voltage campaign led by Prime Minister Modi,” he said.

Sukhu said Virbhadra Singh is Congress’s CM face though no one can stop the workers from raising slogans for any other leader, as had happened at Nagrota Bhagwan, in favour of G S Bali, during Rahul Gandhi’s rally on November 6.

Sukhu admitted that Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had addressed maximum number of poll rallies. His efforts were also supplemented by the star campaigners.

It was a question of demand and supply as few candidates did not ask either for CM or any other star campaign and could manage the campaign. Punjab minister Navjot Singh Siddhu ‘s name was in the list but he did not come, Sukhu admitted .

PCC President said BJP’s last-minute announcement to name Prem Kumar Dhumal as Chief Ministerial candidate looked as a panic reaction and it did not add to party’s gains. The feedback from Sujanpur –a seat being contested by Dhumal, as per Congress inputs, is witnessing a very close fight. The results could really be a surprise .

“In fact, entire Hamirpur Parliamentary seat which includes Una, Bilaspur , Hamirpur, and parts of Kangra, is on the razor’s edge. Anything can happen to the fate of some big-wigs, including himself. The Congress’ task has been made easy by LGP price hike few days before the polling and GST giving pain to the traders’ community.” he said.

PCC president admitted that the party lacked resources as compared to the BJP’s high profile campaign, which saw several Chief Ministers, ministers and top-ranking leaders, engaged in the campaign. Yet, the Congress was very well grounded.

The Congress leader said Modi had sold dreams to the people during 2012 Lok Sabha polls, adding that people fell prey to his trap and sent four MPs from Himachal Pradesh. “Now, all sitting MPs and Modi faced questions as what has he done for the state, which he called his second home. There was anti-factor against Modi, not state government,” he added.

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