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Himachal polls-2017: BJP poll panel meets to decide on 12 candidates

Ticket selection: Candidates for Shimla rural, Chamba, Dalhousie and Arki yet to be decided; party central committee likely to take call on Saturday.

india Updated: Oct 14, 2017 16:17 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Gaurav Bisht
Hindustan Times, Shimla
Himachal polls,Himachal polls-2017,BJP poll panel
The party has finalised the name of former BJP legislator Rakesh Verma to take on Virbhadra Singh in Theog, which Congress veteran Vidya Stokes has represented for eight terms.(HT File )

A day after elections were declared to the 68-member Himachal Pradesh assembly on November 9, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s poll panel met in Chandigarh to finalise the names of candidates in 12 contentious assembly segments.

Friday’s meeting followed deliberation on the names of the candidates at Naina Devi two days ago. The panel, comprising senior leaders, has shortlisted the names of 45 candidates. The BJP has 26 members in the outgoing House.

Sukh Ram’s grandson to switch from Cong to BJP?
  • Former Union minister leader Sukh Ram’s grandson, Ashray Sharma, is likely to switch from the Congress to the BJP. The name of the state Congress committee general secretary was deliberated upon at the BJP poll panel meeting on Friday. Ashray is the son of Anil Sharma, the rural development minister in Virbhadra Singh’s cabinet. He is the younger brother of Ayush Sharma, who is married to Bollywood actor Salman Khan’s younger sister Arpita Khan. The party panel also discussed the ticket applicants for Kasumpti after Virbhadra Singh’s wife Pratibha Singh’s elder brother, Veer Vikram Sen, and his wife, Vijay Jyoti Sen, along with Prithvi Vikram Sen joined the BJP recently. Jyoti contested as an independent candidate from Kasumpti in 2012. She got about 7,000 votes. The party is likely to choose her as its nominee this time.

Sources said that efforts are on to select candidates for 12 seats but if a consensus eludes the panel, central leaders will take a call. Among the seats for which the BJP is yet to finalise its candidate is Shimla Rural, the segment chosen for chief minister Virbhadra Singh’s son and state Youth Congress president Vikramaditya Singh.

The party has finalised the name of former BJP legislator Rakesh Verma to take on Virbhadra Singh in Theog, which Congress veteran Vidya Stokes has represented for eight terms.

The leaders deliberated in detail on the candidate for Chamba. It is learnt that the party has decided not to field its two-time legislator BK Chauhan, a former bureaucrat. Chauhan’s name has been rejected in view of the anti-incumbency against him.

The leaders were indecisive on Dalhousie though they have drawn up a panel of three names. The BJP won Dalhousie in 2007 when Renu Chadha defeated Congress heavyweight and All India Congress Committee secretary Asha Kumari. The party is in a dilemma over fielding Chadha as it is looking for a younger candidate.

The panel has not finalised the candidate from Arki. Govind Ram Sharma won twice from the constituency and faces anti-incumbency in his home turf.

The BJP poll panel discussed chances of rebellion in the party. It decided to pitch senior leaders to keep rebels under control. The senior leaders include the BJP in-charge of the state who is also the health minister of Bihar, Mangal Pandey, election in-charge for Himachal and Union minister Thawar Chand Gehlot, Union health minister Jagat Parkash Nadda and former chief ministers Prem Kumar Dhumal and Shanta Kumar besides Hamirpur Lok Sabha member Anurag Thakur.

The party lost the 2012 assembly elections due to infighting between Dhumal and Shanta Kumar.

In the last elections, the party faced rebels in 18 constituencies and two of them even made it to the assembly.

The list will be finalised after consultation with BJP president Amit Shah in Delhi on Saturday. State party chief Satpal Singh Satti, Dhumal, Shanta Kumar, Nadda and Pandey will be meeting Shah.

First Published: Oct 14, 2017 16:17 IST