Countdown has finally begun to elect the leader of the 21-member Congress Legislature Party (CLP) before the first session of the assembly at Dharamshala on January 9.
Former chief minister Virbhadra Singh, who enjoys support of 18 MLAs, has already thrown his hat in the ring for it even as the party leadership in Delhi and local PCC are not sounding too much inclined in his favour. Seventeen MLAs have given in writing to the party high command favouring Virbhadra Singh as their leader.
The issue has become more contentious as some of the younger leaders from his group have already started lobbying to emerge as a consensus choice if the former chief minister agrees to opt out of the race.
To re-assert himself as an unchallenged leader in the Congress, Virbhadra and his managers, are busy giving final touches to their plan to emerge victorious and to prove that Virbhadra still remains ‘ king of Congress’ politics. In this attempt, Vikramaditya Singh, Wednesday called a press conference at Holly Lodge to send a clear message that the none except one who have a wider support of the MLAs will be the leader with blessing of the former chief minister .
“He should be a person who can take everyone along and holds experience in Parliamentary practices,” he said. All the MLAs belong to Virbhadra Singh camp will assemble at ‘Holly Lodge’ to demonstrate their strength before all proceed to the CLP meeting.
PCC president Sukhwinder Sukhu has also floated his name even as he has only three MLAs including himself to stall Virbhadra’s.The effort of the Sukhu camp will be get a single line resolution passed to leave the issue upto Party president Rahul Gandhi .
Sukhu confirmed that meeting of the CLP has been convened on January 4 at the party office and that besides AICC general secretary Sushil Kumar Shinde, one observer has also been deputed by the high command.
Other names going around in the Virbhadra Singh camp also include former minister Mukesh Agnihotri and senior MLA Harshvardan Chauhan, who got elected in the House from Shillai-one of state’s backward area. Ram Lal Thakur, another former minister, who won from Nainadevi assembly constituency is also a contender .