Updated: December 18, 2017 3:09:59 pm
The constituency of Theog that has returned Congress stalwart Vidya Stokes, 89, seven times, has passed into the hands of the CPM this time around. Earleir, Stokes’ nomination was rejected by the Election Commission and the Congress fielded Deepak Rathore from the seat.
Cashing in on the opportunity, CPM leader Rakesh Singha secured 24,791 votes defeating his closest rival Rakesh Verma of the BJP with a margin of around 2,000 votes. Singha had won the election from Shimla in 1993.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had initially planned to contest the election from the seat but later switched to Arki in Solan district where he is leading handsomely with a margin of over 3,000 votes. The Congress then decided to rope in Deepak Rathore on the seat, who could secure just 9,101 votes. The nomination of Rathore on the seat was not received well by both the CM and Stokes, who later filed nomination papers from the same seat. The nomination was rejected on technical grounds by the Election Commission.
Singha hails from Kotgarh and had been at the forefront of the agitation demanding fair probe in the Kotkhai rape and murder case, and managed to create an environment of support in his favour. Singha emerged as a leader highlighting law and order issue in the state, besides CPM’s pro farmers’ agenda.
While CPM won a seat, BJP is headed for a majority on the state, dethroning Congress from the government. However, the party is likely to look for a new CM face in the state as its chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal, who contested from Sujanpur, is trailing with over 2,500 votes. According to ECI data, the BJP had won four seats and was leading on 40 others while Congress had managed to bag two seats when the story was filed.
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