The state election committee of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which met in New Delhi on Friday evening, cleared the names of 45 candidates for the Himachal Pradesh assembly elections.
The saffron party, which is attempting to retain power, is yet to reach a consensus on the remaining 23 assembly seats. The second list of candidates will be released next week.
The list released on Friday included 32 sitting MLAs, including chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, six of his cabinet colleagues and Vidhan Sabha deputy speaker Rikhi Ram Kaundal. The BJP has 43 MLAs in the outgoing assembly, which has a total strength of 68.
One seat fell vacant after BJP national general secretary JP Nadda was elected to the Rajya Sabha. The names were declared by party general secretary Anant Kumar after a meeting of the central parliamentary board, convened at the residence of party president Nitin Gadkari.
The candidates: Prem Kumar Dhumal (Hamirpur), Hansraj (Churah), BK Chauhan (Chamba), Vikram Singh Jaryal (Bhatiyat), Renu Chadha (Dalhousie), Ranvir Singh Nikka (Nurpur), Vikram Singh Thakur (Jaswan Paragpur), Vipin Singh Parmar (Sulah), Mangal Singh Chaudhary (Nagrota Bagwan), Sarveen Chaudhary (Shahpur), Kishan Kapoor (Dharamsala), Praveen Sharma (Palampur), Ram Lal Markanday (Lahaul and Spiti), Govind Thakur (Manali), Khimi Ram (Banjar), Kishori Lal (Aani), Jai Ram Thakur (Seraj), Jawahar Thakur (Darang), Gulab Singh Thakur (Jogindernagar), DD Thakur (Mandi), Inder Singh Gandhi (Balh), Mahinder Singh Thakur (Dharampur), ID Dhiman (Bhoranj), Baldev Sharma (Badsar), Vijay Agnihotri (Naduan), Balbir Chaudhary (Chintpurni), Satpal Singh Satti (Una), Virender Kanwar (Kutlehar), Rikhi Ram Kaundal (Jhanduta), Randhir Sharma (Naina Devi), Govind Ram Sharma (Arki), KL Thakur (Nalagarh), Vinod Chandel (Doon), Suresh Kashyap (Pacchad), Hirday Rama (Renuka), Sukh Ram Chaudhary (Paonta Sahib), Baldev Singh Tomar (Shillai), Rakesh Verma (Theogh), Prem Kumar Thakur (Kasumpti), Suresh Bhardwaj (Shimla), Narinder Bragta (Jubbal and Kotkhai) and Prem Singh Draik (Rampur Bushar).
Those who attended the state election committee meeting included Dhumal, BJP vice-president Shanta Kumar, general secretary JP Nadda, state unit president Satpal Singh Satti, state unit general secretary Pawan Rana, state party leaders Ram Swaroop Sharma, Dr Rajiv Bindal, Jai Ram Thakur, Khimi Ram, Kishan Kapoor, Suresh Bhardwaj, Meera Anand, Anurag Thakur, Vipin Parmar, Chander Mohan Thakur, Virender Kashyap, Dr Rajiv Bhardwaj, BJP incharge, party affairs, Himachal Pradesh, Kalraj Mishra.