As many as 479 nominations have been filed for the November 9 election to the 68-member Himachal Pradesh Assembly. The nominations will be scrutinised Tuesday. On the last day of filing of nominations yesterday, 275 candidates, including former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal of the BJP, filed their papers. According to officials, 119 nominations have been filed for 15 seats in Kangra, 74 for 10 seats in Mandi, 64 for eight seats in Shimla, 41 for five seats in Hamirpur, 28 for five seats in Chamba, 29 for five seats in Solan.
Twenty-seven nominations were filed for five seats in Sirmaur, 47 for five seats in Una, 17 for four seats in Bilaspur, 23 for four seats in Kullu, five each for one seat in Lahaul and Spiti, and Kinnaur, the officials said.
Congress leader Deepak Rathore filed his nomination from the Theog constituency yesterday, but the party later announced that veteran leader and Irrigation and Public Health Minister Vidya Stokes (89) would be the official candidate. She filed her nomination from Theog in Shimla district later in the day.
Stokes had offered to vacate the seat for Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, but he shifted to Arki in Solan district leaving his traditional Shimla (Rural) seat to his son. Stokes was asked by the party high command to contest from Theog, HPCC president Sukhvinder Singh Sukkhu said.
Stokes has contested the Assembly polls 10 times since 1974 and lost twice in 1977 and 1993. Dhumal filed his nomination from Sujanpur, Sukku entered the fray from Nadaun, and Vikramaditya Singh filed his papers from Shimla (Rural) constituency.
Over two dozen rebel leaders of the Congress and the BJP, who were denied party tickets, filed their nominations as Independents. The last day for withdrawal of nominations is October 26. The ruling Congress is pitted against the BJP in the Assembly polls in the hilly state. The results will be declared on December 18.