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After registering a win in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly election, the Congress MLAs will meet in Shimla today to decide on the chief minister of the hilly state.

As per news agency ANI, Himachal Congress Legislature Party meeting will be held at 3 pm at State Congress Headquarters, Rajiv Bhawan today.

Rajeev Shukla, in-charge of the Himachal Pradesh Congress, and supervisors Bhupesh Baghel and Bhupendra Hooda will also be present at the meeting. 

Also Read: Himachal Pradesh Election Result 2022 winners' list: Cong wrests power from BJP in hill state; check full list

MLAs are likely to pass a resolution and authorise the party's high command to take the final call for the chief minister.

The Congress, which had not projected a Chief Ministerial candidate in the hill state, was earlier planning a meeting of its MLAs in Chandigarh but changed its plans later after it got a clear majority.

Also Read: 6 in Gujarat, 0 in Himachal Pradesh: AAP claims victory with 'National Party Status'

The state party president Pratibha Singh is considered a key frontrunner for the chief minister's post, closely followed by former party chief Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu and outgoing CLP leader Mukesh Agnihotri.

Deciding on the chief ministerial face who can bind the party going forward is the immediate challenge for the Congress.

Though Pratibha Singh did not contest the assembly election and is not an MLA, she had campaigned extensively across the state. Singh is presently the Mandi MP after she won in the bye-election from outgoing chief minister Jairam Thakur's home district.

She also carries the legacy of former chief minister Virbhadra Singh, who steered the Congress in the state for over four decades.

Singh, party sources claimed, has the support of a majority of MLAs who have owed their allegiance to Virbhadra Singh who remained the Congress' undisputed leader in the hill state for long.

Pratibha Singh's son Vikramaditya has been elected as an MLA from Shimla rural and is also among the hopefuls, even though many consider him too young for the top post.

The other CM aspirants are Sukhu, an MLA from Nadaun, and Agnihotri, who was elected from Haroli. Both are hopeful that the party high command would recognise their work as former PCC chief and as Congress Legislature Party leader.

Agnihotri claims that he put forth the party's position strongly in the state assembly as CLP leader and highlighted BJP's "misgovernance" during the last five years. Agnihotri is a Brahmin leader, while Sukhu hails from the dominant Thakur community in the state.

Former PCC chief Kuldeep Singh Rathore, who won from Theog in a multi-cornered contest, is also a CM hopeful and is claiming that he brought the faction-ridden party together in the last few years.

Rathore was replaced a few months ago with Pratibha Singh as the head of the Himachal unit. Some other hopefuls like six-time MLA Asha Kumari and former PCC chief Kaul Singh Thakur lost the election this time.

Meanwhile, some of the Congress leaders apprehended "poaching" attempts by BJP.

Congress returned to power in Himachal Pradesh after five years in the results announced on Thursday. The Congress won 40 seats in the 68-member assembly riding on anti-incumbency.

While Congress won 40 seats in Himachal Pradesh, the BJP won 25 seats. Independents won three seats and AAP failed to open its account in the state.

In terms of vote share in Himachal, Congress is only marginally ahead of the BJP having got 43.88 per cent of votes compared to 42.99 per cent of its rival. Others garnered 10.4 per cent vote share in the hill state. Himachal Pradesh has a long tradition of alternating governments and Congress was on the right side of anti-incumbency.

Jairam Thaukur who won from Seraj seat, defeating Congress rival Chet Ram by huge margin of 38,183 votes tendered his resignation conceding defeat in the state.

"I want to thank Prime Minister and central leadership (for their support) during last five years. We'll stand for the development of the state irrespective of politics. We'll analyse our shortcomings and improve during the next term," Thakur told media persons in Shimla.

Congress in charge of Himachal Pradesh Rajiv Shukla said the party will implement 10 guarantees in the state.

"It's victory of people of the state. People voted for change and against unemployment and inflation. We'll be united and there won't be any factionalism in our party. We met party chief Mallikarjun Kharge and had a discussion regarding our next step," he said.

Himachal Pradesh Congress chief Pratibha Singh said the people of Himachal Pradesh have given the party the mandate and "there is no need to fear (poaching)".

"We can meet (our MLAs) anywhere including Chandigarh or in the state. Those who have won will be with us and we will form the government," she said.

"It is a very emotional moment for me as I can see the same kind of support from people as it was for late Virbhadra Singh. Chandigarh is an easily accessible meeting point for MLAs and we are not worried about poaching," she added. 

(With inputs from ANI)

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