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.
"The party appreciates the hard work and contribution of Sushwinder 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.
Virbhadra Singh had demanded Sukhu's ouster last year too, but Gandhi did not remove him as the state was headed to assembly elections then.
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