At 1:30 pm on Sunday in Shimla, former state president of the Congress Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu took the oath of office as the 15th chief minister of Himachal Pradesh (December 11).
Sukhu, 58, was elected the new chief minister by the Congress leadership on Saturday, two days after the party won 40 of the 68 seats in the Himachal Pradesh State Assembly. Before, there was some rumour as to who might hold the top position, with Pratibha Singh, the late CM Virbhadra Singh’s wife, making the rounds.
Sukhu stressed the need for employment creation during the campaign, concentrating on both filling open government positions and creating new private jobs. He also pledged to lead a government that is honest and transparent. He asserted that it was his duty to keep the promises made by the party to the populace. “We want to secure power rather than merely hold it. We wish to alter the current system. Give me a moment. To introduce a new system and new ideas, we must work hard and battle, he stated.
Sukhu, who was born on March 27, 1964, in the Hamirpur district’s Bhavarna village, studied law at the Himachal Pradesh University in Shimla. Rasil Singh, his father, worked as a driver for the state highways. He had to work various jobs as a student to help the family’s finances. His mother remembered to reporters how Sukhu was more attracted towards continuing his study than working at a young age once the news that he would become the CM broke.
In 1989, Sukhu was named head of the state chapter of the National Students Union of India, the student arm of the Congress party. He later became the head of the state Youth Congress (1998–2008), won two council elections (1992–2002), and entered the Vidhan Sabha as an MLA in 2003. He then served as the head of the state Congress committee (2013-2019).
Sukhu, the head of the Congress’ election committee and a four-term member of the legislature from the Nadaun seat, is a well-liked figure. His oath-taking ceremony on Sunday was attended by Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, who are thought to be close to the Gandhi family. He expressed his gratitude to the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Congresswoman Sonia Gandhi for having appointed him to crucial roles earlier in his career.
His stint as the Pradesh Congress Committee president was characterised by a contentious relationship with the then-chief minister, Virbhadra Singh, a powerful figure in the state.
“I’m devoted to the party’s philosophy. There were matters on which I sided with Virbhadra Singh, and there were issues on which I disagreed, Sukhu had said in an interview with a news outlet on May 13 of this year.
In response to the question of how he managed to advance within the party in spite of these divisions, he stated in an interview in 2017 that his “credibility, clean image, and the party’s faith in me and my supporters from the state have allowed me to survive against those who pretended that without them there is no Congress in the state.”