Shimla: The Congress on Monday announced the names of their candidates for the upcoming November 4 assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh.
The AICC after prior consultations with party president Sonia Gandhi has released the list of 68 candidates for assembly polls.
The Congress has renominated 21 out of 23 sitting MLAs this time, while 22 new faces including four female candidates have managed to find place in the list.
Congress Candidates list
The list includes 25 Rajputs, 13 Brahmins, 17 SC candidates, 3 ST, 3 OBC and 7 others. The number of reserved seats has increased from 16 to 17 seventeen. Thural seat in Kangra district has been abolished while a new constituency of Manali has been added in Kullu district.
Virbhadra dominates candidate list
The released list is highly dominated by the Himachal Pradesh PCC President Virbhadra Singh who has been nominated from Shimla Rural constituency. With this, the Congress has also broken the practice of not allowing sitting MPs to contest in state elections.
A member of Lok Sabha, Singh had resigned as Union Minister in June, a day after a Shimla Court had framed corruption charges against him. He also has his stamp on a majority of the seats for the 68-member Assembly announced by Congress.
His supporters include close relative Rana Anirudh (from Kusumpati) and MLA Sudhir Sharma (from Dharamshala) in the list. Unfortunately, Virbhadra’s wife Pratibha Singh and HPCC vice-president and former minister Harsh Mahajan have failed to get tickets this time.
Vidya Stokes, Kaul Singh Thakur figure in Congress list
CLP leader Vidya Stokes and former state party chief Kaul Singh Thakur have been nominated for the upcoming state assembly elections.
While Stokes has been fielded from Theog, Thakur is the nominee from Darang. Thakur had made way for Virbhadra Singh as PCC chief recently.
The poll process for the November 4 Himachal assembly elections will start with the issue of notification on October 10 when candidates will start filing nominations. While October 17 is the last date for filing nominations, scrutiny will be held on October 18. The last date for withdrawal of candidatures is October 20.
Delimitation played major role
The delimitation of assembly constituencies influenced the choice of Congress candidates for Himachal Pradesh assembly polls.
About a dozen kin of former Congress leaders have been accommodated and four women and four persons from royal background have found place in the lists.
HPCC president, V.B. Singh had to shift to newly created Shimla (Rural) constituency as his traditional Rohroo seat has been reserved for Scheduled Caste while the leader of the opposition Vidya Stokes, who had shifted Kumarsein in 2007, has reverted to her old Theog constituency as Kumarsein constituency has been scrapped.
The sitting MLAs, Yograj (Pragpur) and Sohan Lal (Kusumpti) have not been given tickets as their reserved constituencies have been opened this time but Sudhir Sharma and Rakesh Kalia, whose Baijnath and Chintpurni constituencies were reserved for SC, was accommodated and given ticket from Dharamsala and Gagret respectively.
Similarly, former minister Kuldeep Kumar, whose Gagret reserved constituency has be dereserved, was shifted to Chintpurni.
The boundaries of at least two dozen constituencies have been altered while fifteen constituencies renamed.
The sequence of districts has also been reversed and Kinnaur (ST) constituency, which was at number one, has been made the last (68th) constituency and Shimla district which followed Kinnaur is now second from the bottom.
New faces in Congress list
Vijay Singh Mankotia, who has been re-inducted into Congress after he patched up with Virbhadra Singh, will contest from Shahpur. Mankotia had levelled corruption charges against Singh and his wife and had come out with a CD in that regard a few years ago.
The new faces in Congress list included Pawan Nayyar (Chamba), Kamal Kishore (Indiora-SC), Brig (retd) Rajinder Singh Rana(Dehra), Sanjay Rattan (Jwalamukhi), Kishori Lal (Baijnath-SC), Ravi Thakur (Lahaul and Spiti-ST), Bhuvneshwar Gaur (Manali), Romesh Dogra (Bhoranj-SC), Tara Thakur(Seraj), Inder Dutt Lakhanpal (Badsar), Satpal Raizada(Una), Sanjay Awasthi (Arki), Ram Kumar(Doon), Omkar Singh (Paonta Sahib), Mohan Lal Brakta (Rohroo-SC), Vinod Sultanpuri ( Kasauli), Sunder Singh Thakur (Kullu), Aniruddh Singh (Kusumpti), Harish Janarta (Shimla),Yadvendra Goma (Jaisinghpur-SC) and Bambar Thakur (Bilaspur) and Chander Shekhar (Dharampur).
The Women candidates included All India Mahila Congress President Anita Verma, Leader of the opposition in the assembly, Vidya Stokes, AICC Secretary Asha Kumari and Tara Thakur.