Dhumal to contest but BJP silent on CM candidate in Himachal
New Delhi/Shimla: Former two-time Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal will contest from a new seat Sujanpur while state BJP chief Satpal Singh Satti will re-contest from Una, according to the BJP's list of candidates for the November 9 assembly elections released on Wednesday.
The BJP announced its list of 68 candidates but is silent on declaring the chief ministerial candidate.
The race for the top post is on between Dhumal and Union Minister J.P. Nadda.
The ruling Congress is yet to finalise its list. The only lead it has is that Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi has declared six-time Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, 83, to lead the party to victory and as its chief ministerial candidate.
Dhumal has swapped his present Hamirpur seat with party legislator Narendra Thakur, who will now be the party candidate from the seat. The former launched his campaign from Sujanpur a day earlier.
The list includes several former ministers, including Rajeev Bindal from Nahan and Narinder Bragta from Jubbal-kotkhai, a known apple belt in Shimla district.
Bragta faced a humiliating defeat in the last assembly election in 2012 from Congress youngester Rohit Thakur.
Former Congress cabinet minister Anil Sharma, who had joined the BJP three days back, has been fielded from Mandi, the seat he represented in three consecutive terms.
Sharma joined the BJP along with his father and former Telecom Minister Sukh Ram.
"I have resigned from both the Congress and the government due to being deliberately ignored by the party. I and Pandit Sukh Ram ji were deliberately ignored at party Vice President Rahul Gandhi's Mandi rally," Sharma said after resigning from the Congress.
The BJP list came two days after the process of filing nominations started for the assembly polls. The last date of filing nominations is October 23.
Former cabinet ministers Kishan Kapoor and Ramesh Dhawala, who faced defeat in the last polls, have been declared candidates by the party in this election too. They are contesting from Dharamsala and Jawalamukhi seats respectively.
Kapoor, who may face Congress cabinet minister and sitting legislator Sudhir Sharma, was feeling ignored in the ticket allocation.
At a public rally in Dharamsala two days ago, Kapoor, a four-time legislator from Dharamsala, became emotional and could not control his tears. Several of his supporters were also crying and asked him to contest the elections even as an Independent.
Indu Goswami, BJP Mahilla Morcha president and known for proximity with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been declared candidate from Palampur, the hometown of Member of Parliament Shanta Kumar.
BJP's Rakesh Verma is contesting from Theog, the seat represented by eight-time legislator and Congress veteran Vidya Stokes.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who has been named Congress chief ministerial candidate, has announced that he would contest from Theog in Shimla district.
Singh has announced to field his son Vikramaditya Singh from Shimla (Rural), the seat he is representing. This is his son's maiden contest.
The BJP has fielded Congress rebel Pramod Sharma from Shimla (Rural).