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Posted at: Jan 10, 2019, 9:03 PM; last updated: Jan 11, 2019, 7:02 AM (IST)

Kuldeep Rathore appointed HP Cong chief, replaces Sukhu

Kuldeep Rathore appointed HP Cong chief, replaces Sukhu
Kuldeep Singh Rathore. — File photo

New Delhi/Shimla, January 10

Senior Congress leader Kuldeep Singh Rathore was on Thursday appointed as the president of the party's Himachal Pradesh unit, replacing Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu.

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi cleared his appointment as the party prepares for the Lok Sabha elections.

The 55-year-old Rathore is a member of the All India Congress Committee (AICC), a former general secretary and the chief spokesman of the party's state unit, though he has never been an MLA.

An advocate by profession, Rathore comes from the upper Shimla region, considered the apple belt of Himachal. In appointing him, the Congress leadership has sought to balance the regional equation in the state as Leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri hails from lower Himachal. 

Rathore is also considered close to Congress Rajya Sabha member Anand Sharma. 

"Congress president Rahul Gandhi has appointed Kuldeep Singh Rathore as president of the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee with immediate effect.

"The party appreciates the hard work and contribution of Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu, who will be stepping down from his responsibility as PCC president of Himachal Pradesh," a statement from AICC general secretary Ashok Gehlot said.

The removal of Sukhu came ahead of the parliamentary election as a faction led by former chief minister Virbhadra Singh was at loggerheads with him and wanted his removal.

Singh had demanded Sukhu's ouster last year too, but Gandhi did not remove him as the state was headed to assembly elections then. 

The state BJP claimed the Congress had "humiliated" Virbhadra Singh as Rathore is a "close confidant" Sukhu himself, even as it congratulated the new appointee.

BJP state president Satpal Singh Satti claimed the recommendations of both Singh and Agnihotri were ignored by the top leadership of the Congress.

While congratulating Rathore on his appointment, Satti told PTI the move would have no impact in the parliamentary elections. - PTI


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