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Congress bends ‘one family, one ticket’ rule for Himachal CM Virbhadra Singh’s son, Kaul Singh’s daughter

Vikramaditya will contest from the seat his father currently holds while he is contesting from Arki this time. The party replaced its candidate from Anni. Paras Ram will contest from the seat in place of Bansi Lal, whose name was declared in the first list.

HimachalPradeshElection2017 Updated: Oct 23, 2017 10:08 IST
Himachal Polls,Congress,Himachal elections
Champa Thakur (Mandi) and Vikramaditya (Shimla rural)(HT File )

The Congress high command on Sunday relaxed its ‘one family, one ticket’ rule — that it had strictly followed in the Punjab and Uttarakhand polls— to announce the name of chief minister Virbhadra Singh’s son Vikramaditya Singh as party candidate from Shimla Rural for the November 9 assembly elections in the state.

The party also named senior Congress leader Kaul Singh Thakur’s daughter Champa Thakur as nominee from Mandi. The Congress had initially dithered over announcing the candidatures of Vikramaditya and Champa, but gave in to pressure at the last minute, party sources said.

The final list was released after Congress screening committee members --- Jitendra Singh, Vijay Inder Singla and Gaurav Gogoi --- AICC general secretary Sushil Kumar Shinde had detailed discussions with AICC president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

In the second list , the party has fielded Kewal Singh Pathania from Shahpur and Ashish Butail from Palampur, currently held by his father and outgoing speaker Brij Bihari Lal Butail, who did not want to contest this time.

Earlier in the day, the party released its second list of seven candidates, withholding the names of its nominees for just two seats -- Shimla Rural and Mandi. About an hour later, the party cleared Vikramaditya and Champa’s nominations.

Virbhadra Singh had earlier publicly declared that his son would contest from his seat (Shimla Rural). The chief minister, this time, is contesting from the Arki assembly seat in Solan district.

The Congress had on October 18 announced its first list of 59 candidates. In the second list of candidates, the party has fielded Kewal Singh Pathania from Shahpur and Ashish Butail from Palampur, currently held by his father and outgoing speaker Brij Bihari Lal Butail, who did not want to contest this time.

From Kutlehar, Congress finalised former deputy Speaker Ramnath Sharma’s son Vivek Sharma as party nominee against BJP’s Virender Kanwar. From Manali, the party has fielded Harichand Sharma, a zila parishad member. In Kullu, the party is again relying on Sunder Singh Thakur to take on BJP heavyweight and sitting MLA Maheshwar Singh.

After octogenarian Vidya Stokes opted out of poll fray due to health reasons, Rahul’s associate Deepak Rathore is party’s pick from Theog. In addition, the party has replaced its candidate from Anni. Paras Ram will contest from the seat in place of Bansi Lal, whose name was declared in the first list.

VIkramaditya, who will contest against Virbhadra’s one-time protégé Pramod Sharma, is expected to file nomination on Monday.

First Published: Oct 22, 2017 19:14 IST