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HindustanTimes Sat,12 Jul 2014

Virbhadra set to get sixth term as CM of Himachal

Aurangzeb Naqshbandi and Gaurav Bisht, Hindustan Times  New Delhi/Shimla, December 24, 2012
First Published: 23:19 IST(24/12/2012) | Last Updated: 23:23 IST(24/12/2012)

Congress veteran Virbhadra Singh will be sworn-in as chief minister of Himachal Pradesh for a record sixth term on Wednesday.

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Ten other ministers are likely to be sworn-in with him, party sources in the know of developments said.

Though Singh managed to get six of his loyalists in the new cabinet, the central leadership sought to do a balancing act by including two of his known detractors -- Kaul Singh Thakur and GS Bali -- in the list.

The other names, according to sources, are former state Congress chief Vidya Stokes, Sujan Singh Pathania, Thakur Singh Bharmouri, Dhani Ram Shandil, Prakash Chaudhary, Jagjivan Pal, Mukesh Agnihotri and Sudhir Sharma.

There was confusion over the name of Rakesh Kalia, third time MLA from Una district. Young legislators — Rajesh Dharmani and Neeraj Bharti — will be made parliamentary secretaries, the sources said.

Given the clamour among top leaders to get their loyalists into the council of ministers, last minute changes are not ruled out.

Maximum representation of three ministerial berths has been given to Kangra district, from where the Congress won 10 of the 15 seats.

Singh’s swearing in will come a day after a Shimla court acquitted him of charges of corruption and conspiracy in the CD case that allegedly contained conversation —  dating back to 23 years —between him, former IAS officer Mohinder Lal and some industrialists regarding monetary transactions for them to invest in the hill state.

The verdict has come as a relief for the 78-year-old leader as he had to quit the union cabinet after the court framed charges of conspiracy and corruption against him on June 25.


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