Nine ministers likely to take oath in Himachal

Congress leader and PCC president Virbhadra Singh (78) will be sworn in as the Chief Minister for a record sixth time at the historic Ridge Ground on Tuesday.

Governor Urmila Singh will administer him oath of office and secrecy.

Initially, Virbhadra was to take oath alone, but pressurised by detractors and Cabinet aspirants, the Congress high command is understood to have asked him to include senior leaders like Vidya Stokes and former PCC president Kaul Singh Thakur. Raj Bhawan sources said that those likely to take oath include Stokes, Thakur, G S Bali, Sujan Singh Pathania, Prakash Chaudhary, Mukesh Agnihotri, Thakur Singh Bharmauri, Dhani Ram Shandil and Sudhir Sharma.

Asked who else will take oath on Tuesday, Virbhadra said, "There are a few names. A fax has come from Delhi. Names of ministers will be announced later."

Since Sunday, there's reportedly hectic lobbying for ministerial positions and Virbhadra had to rush to Delhi to meet senior central leaders, including Ahmed Patel.

On Monday morning, he met party president Sonia Gandhi.

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