The Congress list for Himachal Pradesh bears a clear stamp of state unit chief Virbhadra Singh. Of the 68 candidates announced by the party on Monday, 40 owe allegiance to the former Union minister.
Singh, a five-time chief minister and MP from Mandi, is contesting the November 4 polls from Shimla rural.
With Singh prevailing over the leadership to accommodate a majority of his loyalists in the list for the 68-member house, the veteran leader now faces the challenging task of ensuring party's victory in the polls.
"The onus is fully on him now. The high command has almost accepted all his demands… The party has done its bit and it's his turn now," said a Congress functionary.
While Singh's wife, Pratibha Singh, was denied ticket from Kasumpti, there are indications that she would be the Congress candidate from Mandi parliamentary constituency in case the former Union minister manages to pull off a widely-anticipated victory for the party.
The Congress is sensing a win this time given the state has the history of voting out an incumbent government except in 1985 when Singh managed to disturb the cycle by coming to power in the mid-term elections.
Political observers view the ensuing polls as a "do-or-die battle" for 78-year-old Singh as it appears to be his last election in Himachal Pradesh. Singh had earlier told HT that he would not like to contest any parliamentary election in future and write a book on political history of the state.
Apart from Singh, the Congress list includes senior leaders Vidya Stokes, Kaul Singh Thakur, Dhani Ram Shandil, GS Bali and Asha Kumari. Delimitation also appears to have influenced the party's choice as the list has as many as 20 new faces.