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Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu chief minister, Mukesh Agnihotri deputy CM of HP

The Congress chose Sukhvinder Sukhu to become chief minister of Himachal Pradesh and named Mukesh Agnihotri his deputy.

Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu known as Rahul Gandhi’s close aide is a product of student politics, a senior Congress leader and a four-time MLA.  He is the son of a road transport corporation driver, and with humble beginnings used to run a milk counter at Chhota Shimla in his early days.

He is a native of the Hamirpur district, starting his political career in the Congress’s student wing National Students’ Union of India, and being an activist at the Himachal Pradesh University. He emerged through the ranks and led the NSUI state unit in the late 1980s and mid-1990s (1989-95).

After rising to a full-time political career, he was president of the state Youth Congress in the 2000s (1998-08). He won the municipal election twice in Shimla and was then made secretary of the state unit in 2008, eventually getting to the top of the state unit. He was also chief power of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) from 2007 to 2012.

Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu was a known critic of party veteran Virbhadra Singh who had dominated Himachal Pradesh politics for over five decades until his demise last year.

Rising through the ranks, Sukhu was a tenacious warrior and remained the party’s state unit president for a record six years from 2013 to 2019 despite being frequently at loggerheads with Virbhadra Singh, a six-time chief minister.

With both Sukhu and Pratibha Singh staking claim to the chief minister’s post, the party high command, after deliberations with newly elected MLAs, picked Sukhu. He was sworn in as the 15th chief minister of Himachal Pradesh on Sunday in a ceremony attended by senior party leaders, including Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul Gandhi, and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

He is the seventh person to hold the post in the state.  Sukhu is a grassroots politician who has wide organizational experience in the hill state. He became the chief minister of Himachal Pradesh after his party’s victory in the 2022 Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly election. The Congress chose him to become CM and named Mukesh Agnihotri his deputy.

Mukesh Agnihotri Deputy Chief Minister

Mukesh Agnihotri was born on October 9 1962 in Sangrur, Punjab to his father, Omkar Chand Sharma. His early education was in the Una district before he pursued an M.Sc degree in Mathematics. Thereafter, he completed a postgraduate diploma in Public Relations and became a journalist.

Mukesh Agnihotri worked as a news correspondent in Shimla for 10 years before entering politics. Upon seeing his political penetration and understanding, it is said it is Virbhadra Singh who asked him to contest for Santokhgarh in the year 2003 and he won the election from the seat. In 2007, he secured a majority and won the seat again.

After delimitation in the year 2008, Santokhgarh was converted into the Haroli assembly seat. Mukesh Agnihotri was victorious in getting re-elected for the third time in 2012 and was made a minister in the Virbhadra Singh-led government.

A fantastic orator and firebrand, Congress made Agnihotri the Leader of the Opposition in the year 2018. He was also a nominated member of the Business Advisory Committee in the Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly.

Before becoming an MLA, he had also been the general secretary and president of Congress’s Himachal unit’s media cell. He has also been the chief parliamentary secretary and chairman of the Housing Board in the 10th Legislative Assembly.

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