The Congress high command on Sunday announced senior party leader Viplove Thakur as its candidate for the lone Rajya Sabha seat from Himachal Pradesh.
Thakur, whose nomination was cleared by the party on Sunday, will file her nomination papers on Tuesday for the seat falling vacant on expiry of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member Shanta Kumar's term.
Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee president Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu met All India Congress Committee (AICC) vice-president Rahul Gandhi, advocating name of Viplove Thakur for Rajya Sabha from the state. Sukhu had personally advocated her name when asked by general secretary -incharge Ambika Soni. AICC secretary and Dalhousie legislator Asha Kumar also played a vital role in finalising Viplove's name for Rajya Sabha.
Sources said that union minister for commerce and industry Anand Sharma had also batted for her as Rajya Sabha candidate, while chief minister Virbhadra Singh had forwarded name of his close confidant and former MLA Gangu Ram Musafir.
Viplove had earlier remained in Upper House from the state in 2006 and she was also elected as the HPCC president in 2005. She was the 4th women president of HPCC.
She was 26th Rajya Sabha member and sixth woman member from Himachal to be elected to the Upper House. She was elected to Himachal Pradesh Assembly in 1985, 1993 and 1998. She had been the minister for ayurveda in the Virbhadra Singh government from 1993 to 1998.
Earlier, Lilavati Mahajan (1956), Satyawati Dang (1968), Mohinder Kaur (1978), Usha Malhotra (1980) and Chandresh Kumari (1996) were elected to Rajya Sabha from the state.
The election department had issued notification for election January 21 and last date for filling the nominations was January 28. The scrutiny of nomination papers will be done January 29 and names can be withdrawn up to January 31.
Meanwhile, Thakur has expressed gratitude towards Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi for reposing faith in her.
There was a section within the Congress party of the opinion that ticket to outsider will give a chance to the BJP to attack the Congress as the state has only three Rajya Sabha seats. However, the BJP had given Rajya Sabha ticket to KL Sharma in 1992 and had drawn criticism from the Congress. At present, Jagat Prakash Nadda, Vimla Kashyap and Shanta Kumar are in Rajya Sabha from the state.