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Congress bigwigs’ kin vying for party tickets in Himachal

The Congress had hired an external agency to assess popularity of ticket aspirants while the AICC had also conducted several surveys to get to the ground reality.

india Updated: Oct 12, 2017 11:43 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Party workers welcoming Himachal Pradesh Youth Congress president Vikramaditya Singh at the Congress office in Shimla on Tuesday.
Party workers welcoming Himachal Pradesh Youth Congress president Vikramaditya Singh at the Congress office in Shimla on Tuesday. (Deepak Sansta/HT)

With the last date for applying for Congress tickets ahead of the Himachal Pradesh assembly elections ending on Tuesday, the kith and kin of the party’s who’s who are in the queue for tickets.

On Tuesday, chief minister Virbhadra Singh’s son and state youth Congress president Vikramaditya Singh formally applied for party ticket from the Shimla (rural) constituency, represented by his father in the present Vidhan Sabha.

Vikramaditya, who along with his supporters reached the party’s state headquarters, has been campaigning in the area for long. Last month too, six-time CM Virbhadra during a convention had projected his son as the party candidate from the segment.

“Virbhadra Singh is a national leader and he will win no matter which constituency in the state he contests from. I have worked for the people of the segment (Shimla rural). Whosoever is given the party ticket, he/she will win from there,” Vikramaditya said.

Also in the queue is Chetan Parmar (from Nahan segment), the grandson of the state’s first CM Yashwant Singh Parmar and son of Kush Parmar, a three-time legislator from Nahan and Poanta Sahib.

Former ayurveda minister Karan Singh’s son Aditya Vikram Singh also applied from the Banjar constituency in Kullu. Karan Singh had died after a prolonged illness this year.

Chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) Neeraj Bharati, son of former Lok Sabha member and former state minister Chander Kumar, also applied for the ticket segment.

Surprisingly, from Palampur, Vidhan Sabha speaker Brij Bihari Lal Butail and his son Ashish Butail, a Congress secretary, have applied for the ticket from the segment. Also, Virbhadra’s IT adviser Gokul Butail has applied from Palampur.

Other prominent names who have applied for ticket are power minister Sujan Singh Pathania, urban development minister Sudhir Sharma, industries minister Mukesh Agnihotri, transport minister GS Bali, forest minister Thakur Singh Bharmouri, AICC secretary and Dalhousie MLA Asha Kumari.

MLAs Sanjay Rattan, Ajay Mahajan and Yadavinder Goma have also applied for the tickets.

“The final call on tickets will be taken by the party high command. The party will also seek feedback on the applicants from their block units before short-listing the candidates,” said state party president Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu.

The party has received more than 500 applications for tickets and the prospective candidates will be screened by the poll panel.

The Congress had hired an external agency to assess popularity of ticket aspirants while the AICC had also conducted several surveys to get to the ground reality.

The Kutlehar constituency in Una has the highest number of applicants at 27. From the Shimla (urban) segment, former legislators Harbhajjan Singh Bhajji, Adarsh Sood, party general secretary Naresh Chauhan and HPTDC vice-chairman, a Virbhadra Singh blue-eyed boy, are among 11 aspirants.