Shimla: Congress party with the nod of President Sonia Gandhi, late yesterday, announced Sukhvinder Singh Sukku as the new officiating state party president in Himachal.
The new appointment comes in the wake of Virbhadra Singh who on being elected as chief minister, resigned as the state party president recently.
Sukku, a two time former MLA, lost in the assembly election from Nadaun, Hamirpur, recently.
Resignation of Virbhadra has been accepted by Sonia Gandhi and Sukku will officiate as PCC president till a permanent appointment of state party president is made, a party release stated.
Appointment of Sukku, a Virbhadra detractor, as the new officiating president is being considered as another setback for the chief minister, who only yesterday failed to get his nominee Kuldeep Kumar elected as Speaker to the Vidhan Sabha.
Sources maintained that it was at the behest of the party high command that the meeting of the congress legislature party after much deliberations named BBL Butail as the ‘unanimous’ choice of the party for the post of Speaker.
The legislature party making the unanimous choice over Butail was held under the direct supervision of Birender Singh Chaudhary.
Fast track political appointments to several boards and corporations of Virbhadra loyalists is said to have irked the high command, who are bent upon clipping the wings of the chief minister.
Party sources claimed that appointment of 15 lawyers, some with bare little experience in the legal field, as deputy and additional advocate generals has only added more fuel to the growing factionalism in the party.
Sources also said that Dhani Ram Shandil, a congress working committee (CWC) member and a legislator from Solan, was not on the initial list of cabinet ministers but a last minute change was made during the swearing in ceremony.
“Initially the congress legislature from Banjar, Kullu, Karan Singh was on the list and was in fact sitting on the dais where the other members to be sworn in were seated,” said an eyewitness.
Just before the swearing in ceremony, there was a phone call from Delhi congress headquarters and hurriedly Karan Singh was dropped and Shandil was inducted into the cabinet, said the party insider.