Virbhadra Singh sworn-in as Himachal CM for a record 6th time

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Virbhadra Singh, who steered Congress to power in the Assembly polls, was today sworn-in as Himachal Pradesh chief minister for a record sixth time, heading a ten-member ministry.

78-year-old Singh, who has held the top office in Himachal five times in the past, was administered the oath of office and secrecy by governor Urmilla Singh at an open ceremony at the historic Ridge Maidan here. Nine Cabinet ministers were also sworn-in.

A large crowd had turned up for the function which was held outside the Raj Bhawan for the third time in the history of the state.

The Cabinet ministers, who took oath were, senior Congress leaders Vidya Stokes and Kaul Singh Thakur, G.S. Bali, Sujan Singh Pathania, Thakur Singh Bharmauri, Mukesh Agnihotri, Sudhir Sharma, Prakash Chowdhary and Dhani Ram Shandil.

The new Council of ministers has three members from Kangra from where Congress won ten out of fifteen seats, two from Shimla district, two from Mandi and one each from Chamba, Una and Solan districts.

The ministry was finalised after Singh held consultations with Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi yesterday, sources said. Singh was formally elected as the leader of the Congress Legislature Party in Shimla on Saturday.

Congress, which wrested power from the BJP, has 36 MLAs in the 68-member Assembly and one independent MLA has extended unconditional support to the party.

Singh was chief minister between 1983 and 1985; 1985 and 1990; 1993 and 1998 and 2003 and 2007.

In his five-decade-long political innings, he has been a seven-time MLA and a five-time MP. He has also been a four-time president of the Himachal chapter of Congress and also represents the Mandi seat in the present Lok Sabha.

Singh had a detailed meeting with AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi, who was deputed as observer by the party high command for Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meet, on Saturday evening in Shimla and discussed several key issues relating to government formation.

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