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Himachal Assembly Polls: Congress Announces 46 Candidates; BJP Fields 62

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur is all set to contest from his constituency Seraj. Congress former state Congress chiefs Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu and Kuldeep Singh Rathore from Nadaun and Theog, respectively.

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The Congress on Tuesday released its first list of 46 candidates for the November 12 assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh, fielding its legislature party leader Mukesh Agnihotri from Haroli in Una district while BJP released its first list of 62 candidates for the polls to the 68-member Himachal Pradesh assembly.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur is all set to contest from his constituency Seraj.

In the 68-member assembly, the BJP currently has 43 members and the Congress 22. There are two Independents and one CPI(M) MLA. 

Congress' nominations

The party nominated former state Congress chiefs Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu and Kuldeep Singh Rathore from Nadaun and Theog, respectively. Former state minister and former All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary Asha Kumari has been fielded from her Dalhousie seat.

The party has fielded most of its sitting MLAs, including former chief minister Virbhadra Singh's son Vikramaditya Singh from the Shimla Rural constituency.

However, the name of the party candidate from Kinnaur has not been announced. Currently, Jagat Singh Negi is Congress MLA from Kinnaur, from where the state youth Congress president Nigam Bhandari is also hopeful of getting the party ticket this time.

The first list of candidates did not include the name of state Congress chief Pratibha Singh. She is the sitting MP from Mandi and the wife of former chief minister Virbhadra Singh.

Congress leader Alka Lamba said the names of the remaining 22 candidates would be declared soon.

Former BJP leader Dyal Pyari, who switched over to the Congress a few days ago, has been fielded from the Pachhad (SC) seat.

Khimi Ram, who had also joined the Congress sometime ago from the BJP, is the Congress candidate from the Banjar assembly seat.

Congress leader Aditya Vikram Singh, who had unsuccessfully contested the last election from Banjar and was hoping for renomination, resigned from the party in protest after the candidate list was announced Tuesday evening, sources said.

Aditya Vikram Singh bagged more than 45 per cent of the votes in 2017 and was defeated by Surender Shourie of the BJP.

According to the Congress candidate list, former state minister and former state party chief Kaul Singh Thakur will contest from the Darang assembly seat. His daughter, Champa Thakur, has been nominated from Mandi, giving a go-by to the party's "one family, one ticket" formula.

Col (retd) Dhani Ram Shandil will contest from his Solan seat and Harshwardhan Singh Chauhan from his Shillai assembly constituency.

Rajinder Rana, who had defeated former chief minister P K Dhumal in the Sujanpur constituency in the last election, has been renominated from the seat.

Former minister B D Bali's son Raghubir Singh  Bali will contest from Nagrota.

The party has nominated former MP Chander Kumar from the Jawali assembly seat in Kangra district.

Voting for the 68 assembly seats in the hill state is scheduled for November 12 and the counting of votes will take place on December 8.

The last date for the filing of nominations is October 25.

The Congress is seeking to wrest power from the BJP in the hill state this time and has made a number of promises to the electorate, including the implementation of old pension scheme in the state.

BJP's nominations

The BJP on Wednesday released its first list of 62 candidates for the polls to the 68-member Himachal Pradesh assembly, fielding Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur from his constituency Seraj.

Anil Sharma, son of former Union minister Sukh Ram, has been fielded from Mandi

The list, which features five women candidates, was finalised in Monday's meeting of the party's Central Election Committee, whose members include Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior leaders.

Some incumbent MLAs have been dropped.

Assembly polls in the state have been scheduled for November 12 and the last date for filing nominations is October 25.

(With PTI Inputs)

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