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Amidst hectic lobbying for berths Virbhadra leaves for Delhi

india Updated: Dec 23, 2012 19:51 IST
Gaurav Bisht

Amidst hectic lobbying for ministerial berth, chief minister–designate-Virbhadra Singh on Sunday left for Delhi to call on All India Congress Committee chief Sonia Gandhi and other central leaders.

Virbhadra Singh, who was elected leader of Congress Legislature Party Saturday night, will consult Congress president over formation of next government.

With many legislators aspiring ministerial berth, forming a cabinet will be a tight rope walk for Virbhadra Singh. Singh would take oath alone and constitute the council of ministers later after consulting the party high command.

Prior to leaving for Delhi, Virbhadra Singh in the morning remained closeted with Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, party’s senior general secretary Janardhan Diwedi and All India Congress Committee general secretary Birender Singh who is the inchrage for party affairs in Himachal. Trio had been deputed as observers for electing Congress legislature party leader.

Singh told reporters here that his ministry would be three tier "I will keep in mind regional and caste equation before forming next cabinet. Singh said that he had as many as three persons in mind for the post of speaker. "I have three persons in mind. I am still contemplating," Virbhadra Singh said.

Congress has 36 MLAs in the 68-member house and one independent MLA has extended unconditional support to Singh. Dharamsala legislator Sudhir Sharma a close confidant of Virbhadra Singh is likely to be in inducted apart from the senior Congress leader GS Bali and former transport Minister Sujan Singh Pathania. Speculations are rife that Neeraj Bharati from Jawali and Jagjivan Pal from Sulah could also either be appointed as chief parliamentary secretary or parliamentary secretary.

The race is no less in Una district. Muskesh Agnihotri who has won for the three consecutive time is being considered as the front-runner for the cabinet rank from Una. Apart from Agnihotri former industries minister Kuldeep Kumar – who won from Chintpurni is also vying the berth. In Chamba, Thakur Singh Bhamouri and Dalhousie legislators Asha Kumarti both are keen to become minister.

State former Congress president Kaul Singh Thakur and Mandi MLA Anil Sharma are keen on cebong a legislator. Karsog legioslator Mansa Ram too is keen to become the minister, while Virbhadra Singh’s confidant Parkash Chaudjhary has clinged his hopes . From Kullu names of former education minister Karan Singh is doing rounds.

In Shimla district the Congress stalwart Vidya Stokes is sure to become senior most minister after Virbhadra Singh, while Congress working committee member Dhani Ram Shandil who won from Solan could also get ministerial berth.