Himachal Pradesh polls: Virbhadra’s son among kin of leaders in Congress shortlist
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Himachal Pradesh polls: Virbhadra’s son among kin of leaders in Congress shortlist

Himachal Pradesh will go to polls on November 9.

india Updated: Oct 16, 2017 23:31 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Gaurav Bisht
Hindustan Times, Shimla
Vikramaditya Singh,Virbhadra Singh,Congress list
Himachal Pradesh CM Virbhadra Singh briefs media on upcoming assembly elections at Himachal Sadan in New Delhi.(Vipin Kumar/HT Photo)

As the process for filing nominations to contest the upcoming assembly elections began Monday, hectic lobbying for tickets got under way within the Congress as the central election committee went into a huddle in New Delhi.

The party’s state election committee, too, got into deliberations at Himachal Bhawan in Delhi to shortlist candidates for the 68 constituencies in the state, where the polling is scheduled to take place in November 9.

The meeting, however, only saw a few names being shortlisted, chief among which was that of Vikramaditya Singh, CM Virbhadra Singh’s son, from Shimla rural.

The state election committee has unanimously decided to retain the sitting legislators, while it also made clear that its ‘one family one ticket’ rule, which it had adopted in Punjab, would not be applicable here.

From Shimla urban, the committee has shortlisted its general secretary Harbhajan Singh Bhajji, former general secretary Kuldeep Rathore and state tourism development corporation vice-chairman Harish Janartha as probable candidates.

Rajya Sabha deputy leader Anand Sharma has thrown his weight behind Rathore.

Among the constituencies from which the state election committee decided to pick only one candidate include Nagrota Bagwan and Dalhousie. The candidates shortlisted for these seats are transport minister GS Bali (against whom speculations were ripe he could switch over to the BJP) and AICC secretary Asha Kumari, respectively.

The committee is backing the candidature of health minister Kaul Singh Thakur’s daughter, Champa Thakur, from Mandi, and hopes the party will pit her against defector Anil Sharma, who was the rural development minister but joined BJP saying he was being “sidelined and ignored” in the party.

Kaul Singh himself will contest from his home turf Drang.

Virbhadra’s trusted lieutenant, former minister Harsh Mahajan, has opted out of the race. In his place, the party will back Neeraj Naiyar, the son of former MP Chanchal Naiyar.

The state election committee’s recommended names will be forwarded to the party’s three-member central election committee, headed by former Lok Sabha member Jitendra Singh, with Vijay Inder Singla and Gaurav Gogoi being the other two.

First Published: Oct 16, 2017 23:30 IST