Shimla: The Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) candidate will file nomination papers on June 1 for the lone Mandi Parliamentary by-poll in Himachal Pradesh, while the Congress is yet to finalize its candidate.

Jai Ram Thakur, a former cabinet minister, will file the papers in Mandi town, BJP spokesperson Ganesh Dutt said on Monday. He said after filing the papers, a public rally to kick-start the election campaign for June 23 polling would be held.

BJP national vice-president Balbir Punj and Rajya Sabha member Shanta Kumar would attend the rally. Mandi seat fell vacant following the resignation of Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh from Parliament after he was elected to the state assembly in December 2012.

Pratibha Singh, the wife of six-time chief minister Virbhadra Singh - who also was MP from Mandi 2004-09 - is likely to be fielded by the Congress.  

Mandi Parliamentary constituency, which includes Kullu, Mandi and some areas of Chamba and Shimla districts, besides the tribal-dominated assembly constituencies of Kinnaur and Lahaul and Spiti, is one of the largest constituencies in the country.

Poll officials said the last date for filing nominations is on June 5, and the counting of votes will be held on June 27.


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