Virbhadra, Vidya Stokes among Cong's Himachal candidates



New Delhi: Himachal Pradesh PCC president Virbhadra Singh, CLP leader Vidya Stokes and former state party chief Kaul Singh Thakur figure in the list of 68 Congress candidates released by AICC on Monday for the November four Assembly elections in the state.

Virbhadra Singh, a five-time Chief Minister, has been nominated from Shimla Rural constituency. 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.

While Stokes has been fielded from Theog, Thakur is the nominee from Darang. Thakur had made way for Virbhadra Singh as PCC chief recently.

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.

Senior leader Dhani Ram Shandil and Gangu Ram Musafir have been fielded from Solan-SC and Pachhad-SC respectively, while AICC Secretary Asha Kumari will contest from Dalhousie. All India Mahila Congress chief Anita Verma will contest from Sujanpur.

Anil Sharma, son of former Union Minister Sukh Ram, has been made the party nominee from Mandi, while Ajay Mahajan, son of former PCC President Sat Mahajan, will contest from Nurpur. Kush Parmar, son of Himachal Pradesh's first chief minister YS Parmar, will again contest from Nahan. He is the sitting MLA.

Former state minister G S Bali has been fielded from Nagrota, Rangila Ram Rao from Sarkaghat, Ram Lal Thakur from Naina Devi and former Youth Congress president Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu from Nadaun. Sitting MLA Harshwardhan Singh Chauhan will contest from Shillai, Mukesh Agnihotri will contest from Haroli and Brij Bihari Lal Butail from Palampur.

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.

PTI