After much wrangling,the Congress Central Election Committee which met in New Delhi on Saturday under Congress president Sonia Gandhi cleared its biggest hurdle in the run-up to November 4 Assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh by clearing 52 names. However,16 constituencies are still undecided due to intense rivalries among top leaders.
Party sources said Virbhadra Singh and Vidya Stokes are likely to meet Sonia and Rahul Gandhi to discuss the undecided seats. The name of PCC president Virbhadra has been cleared for Shimla (Rural) a newly carved constituency having peripheral areas of the town and few adjoining constituencies while Congress Legislature Party leader Vidya Stokes,now an ally of Virbhadra,will contest from Theog
Though the party had tried hard to strike a balance of caste and group considerations particularly at behest of Rahul Gandhi who was keen to introduce new faces the efforts are yet to be reflected in the overall list.
Five-time MLA Kush Parmar,son of legendary leader and states first chief minister Y S Parmar is being fielded from Paonta Sahib instead of Nahan,while the name of Ajay Mahajan son of late veteran leader Sat Mahajan is undecided for Nurpur,the home constituency of his father.
Of eight constituencies in Shimla district: Shimla (Urban) and Kasumpati have been left undecided. Virbhadras wife Pratibha Singh is seeking ticket from Kasumapti. Dhani Ram Shandil a former MP and CWC member will contest from Solan (reserved),which was earlier represented by BJP leader and former Health Minister Rajeev Bindal.
Former minister Major (Rtd) Vijai Singh Mankotia who was recently admitted to Congress will contest from Shahpur constituency. The son of former BJP stalwart Narinder Singh – who joined the Congress during he Lok Sabha polls is the Congress candidate against Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal at Hamirpur .
Anita Verma,all Indian Mahila Congress president who is seeking a ticket from Sujanpur,has as of yet not been cleared.
AICC general secretary Birender Singh said: A few constituencies have not been cleared though discussions are complete on all 68 constituencies. The full and final list may be out by tomorrow.
Asked if all sitting Congress MLAs have been given tickets,Singh said: By and large,but those constituencies have been changed by the Delimitation Commission have either been denied or left.
Inquiries reveal that sitting Jodhpur MP Chandresh Kumari has been denied ticket from Dharamshala while former PCC president Viplove Thakur who heads PCCs Publicity Committee – is not contesting. Uncertainty also remains on former minister and Virbhadra Singh-loyalist Harsh Mahajans fate as he earlier had declined to contest the Assembly polls.