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Himachal Cong first list out, most sitting MLAs in

Congress declares all 65 candidates, who will be issued party tickets for the second phase of assembly polls, reports Archana Phull.

india Updated: Nov 26, 2007 03:56 IST

The Congress on Sunday declared all the 65 names of candidates, who would be issued party tickets for the second phase of assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh on December 19.

However, Horticulture Minister Singhi Ram and Deputy Speaker of the state Vidhan Sabha, Dharam Pal Thakur, fell out of favour. Nand Lal, a former SPG commando in Rampur, replaced Ram. Barring these changes, all sitting Congress MLAs are being fielded for the December 19 elections in the hill state where the party had 42 MLAs. The Congress has given tickets to 11 new faces, including NSUI chief Kewal Singh Pathania and PCC member Rajesh Dharmani, and Roma Kaundal. In all, there are six women in the list, including senior leaders Vidya Stokes, Chandresh Kumari, Asha Kumari, Anita Verma and Vidya Zar.

While, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh will contest from his traditional seat Rohru in Simla district, former tourism and transport minister G.S. Bali would also contest the elections after he got a clean chit over the controversy on his birthday party. The list, formally released by the party's Central Election Committee, accommodates four out of the five associate members of the Congress.

Two state ministers Sat Mahajan and Harsh Mahajan and senior leader Sukhram have, however, opted out of the fray. Both Mahajan and Sukhram have got their sons fielded from their constituencies, while Harsh Mahajan has withdrawn for personal reasons. The Congress has also denied tickets to deputy speaker Dharam Pal and former MLA O.P. Rattan. By giving a ticket to Prakash Karad from Arki, the party has, for the first time, fielded a SC candidate from a general seat.

First Published: Nov 26, 2007 03:55 IST