The BJP’s final list of candidates — declared on Wednesday — bears the stamp of Himachal Pradesh chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal.
As the last 12 names were announced, it became clear that Dhumal has won the final round of the tussle against former Union minister Shanta Kumar and managed to get a lion’s share of the seats for his aides.
His chief loss was Jawalamukhi, which he was trying to secure for his blue-eyed boy, irrigation and public health minister Ravinder Singh Ravi.
Staunch Kumar loyalist, sitting MLA Ramesh Dhawala, refused to move and Ravi will now have to shift to the nearby Dehra constituency. But Ravi’s candidature is likely to trigger rebellion in Dehra as party rebel Kripal Parmar may contest against its official nominee.
Keeping the anti-incumbency in mind, the party has fielded 26 new faces. Seven women candidates, including four sitting women MLAs, have been allotted tickets. Five MLAs have been dropped.