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Monday, Sep 23, 2019

Himachal Pradesh Congress braces for Lok Sabha elections, invites applications for four seats

Congress will invite application from aspirants for the four Lok Sabha seats in Himachal Pradesh including Shimla.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Jan 11, 2019 16:11 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Gaurav Bisht
Hindustan Times, Shimla
The decision to invite applications for the four LS seats in Himachal Pradesh came following a meeting between former state party chief, Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu and All India Congress Committee (AICC), president Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi on Thursday.
The decision to invite applications for the four LS seats in Himachal Pradesh came following a meeting between former state party chief, Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu and All India Congress Committee (AICC), president Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi on Thursday.(Reuters)
         

In preparation for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, the Himachal Pradesh Congress has decided to invite applications for four seats in the state, amid reports that the top leadership has given its nod for return of leaders, who were ousted from the party ahead of 2017 elections for breach of discipline.

Congress will invite application from aspirants for the four Lok Sabha seats including Shimla, Hamirpur, Kangra and Mandi. The aspirants can submit their application along with Rs 25,000 fee to the block or district committees or can directly approach Rajiv Bhawan, the party headquarters, in Shimla. 

The decision came following a meeting between former state party chief, Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu and All India Congress Committee (AICC), president Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi on Thursday. The party’s state general secretary, Rajni Patil and AICC secretary Gurkirat Kotli accompanied Sukhu for the meeting.

In the meeting that lasted for over an hour, Rahul Gandhi discussed the strategy and preparation of the state Congress for the Lok Sabha elections. Earlier, he had separately met leaders from the state, including leader of opposition Mukesh Agnihotri.

Senior Congress leaders under the chairmanship of Rajni Patil had gone into huddle at the party headquarters in New Delhi, regarding the poll strategy. Opposition leader Mukesh Agnihotri, Congress leader GS Bali and HPCC chief Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu discussed details about the election preparations and the party decided to constitute a committee to oversee election arrangements in the state.The party will constitute a coordination committee, state election committee and campaign committee comprising senior party leaders.

Former chief minister Virbhadra Singh is likely to head the campaign committee, while Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu will lead the election committee that plays a vital role in finalising the tickets. Congress former general secretary, Kuldeep  Rathore  is likely to head the publicity committee.

Aspirants begin lobbying for seats

Aspirants in the party have already begun back-door lobbying and are shuttling between Delhi and Shimla to get support for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Congress state secretary, Amit Nanda is keenly vying a ticket from Shimla, while a section of leaders are backing former Lok Sabha member, KD Sultanpuri’s son Vinod Sultanpuri, who had lost elections from Kasauli by 26 votes. Besides, former social justice minister, Dhani Ram Shandil’s name is in reckoning along with former legislator Sohan Lal. Former CM Virbhadra Singh had recently shown keenness after block Congress committee in Rampur Budshar had thrown up Shimla rural legislator Vikramaditya’s name.

Other names in the reckoning are that of senior Congress leader Budhi Singh Thakur and former health minister Kaul Singh Thakur. Covertly, congress leaders from Mandi are keen to support field power minister Anil Sharma’s son Ashray Sharma, who is now in BJP.

Congress faces an uphill task for searching candidate in the Kangra district. Former urban development minister, Sudhir Sharma and his arch rival former transport minister GS Bali’s names are doing rounds, besides Vijay Chambhiyal.

First Published: Jan 11, 2019 16:11 IST