Pratibha Singh, wife of Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh, on Friday said she will not contest the Assembly by-elections in Himachal Pradesh on Nov 7. There has been speculation that the Congress party would nominate some other candidate from Rohru constituency.
"I have decided not to contest the by-election from Rohru due to some personal problems. I have conveyed my decision to the party high command too," she told IANS.
In the May general elections also, Pratibha Singh, a former MP of Mandi, had decided to opt out of the elections due to personal reasons.
"My name was recommended by the block and district committees to the high command for ticket allotment. I respect their sentiments and feelings," she said.
The announcement came after the party reportedly decided to allot ticket to some other candidate.
Sources in the Congress said Pratibha Singh's decision not to contest the elections at the last minute was a face-saving exercise. "Pratibha's announcement not to contest the election came after she was reportedly told that she would not get the ticket," a state party leader said.
The Rohru constituency has been a Virbhadra Singh stronghold during the past two decades. The seat fell vacant after Virbhadra Singh contested and won the Lok Sabha elections.
State Congress chief Kaul Singh Thakur said: "Pratibha Singh has applied for the ticket (from Rohru) and we have forwarded her request to the party high command. The high command would announce the candidates by this (Friday) evening."
Interestingly, Virbhadra Singh has toured the Rohru constituency thrice in the recent past to woo voters.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has announced that Khushi Ram Balnatah would be the party's candidates from Rohru.
This constituency has been declared reserved for the Scheduled Castes from the next assembly elections as per the delimitation notification.
The Congress is yet to announce its candidate from the Jawali seat where the BJP has announced Baldev Raj Chaudhary as its candidate.
Polling for the two Assembly seats in Himachal Pradesh - Rohru and Jawali - is scheduled for Nov 7.