Updated: December 18, 2017 7:37:46 am
As Himachal Pradesh goes for the counting of votes for 68 Assembly segments on Monday, the fate of at least two dozen new faces, among them children of six Congress leaders, including of Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, and an aide of Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be unlocked. Virbhadra’s son and Himachal Pradesh Youth Congress president Vikramaditya Singh (27) contested from Shimla (Rural) constituency as a first-timer. He hopes to win the seat due to his father’s goodwill. “I will win the seat due to my father’s goodwill this time. But next time, I will win it on my own goodwill,” he said.
It was for Virbhadra Singh’s son that Congress did away with one-family-one-ticket rule, followed strictly in Punjab during the 2017 Assembly elections. The CM is learnt to have dug his heels that if his son was not nominated by the party, even he would not contest the election. Then Rahul Gandhi, who was the AICC vice-president then. specially came to Himachal Pradesh to announce Virbhadra as the chief ministerial candidate. Vikramaditya was nominated closer to the election and so was Champa Thakur, who is daughter of Congress stalwart and Health Minister Kaul Singh Thakur and contested as a first-timer from Mandi. Kaul Singh Thakur himself contested from Drang.
Another Congress leader BBL Butail’s son Ashish Butail is also seeking election from Palampur. Aditya Vikram Singh, son of former minister late Karan Singh who died a few months ago, was fielded by Congress as a first-timer from Banjar in Kullu. Vivek Sharma, son of a former Deputy Speaker Ram Dass, contested as a first-timer from Kutlehar. Modi’s close aide Indu Gauswamy, another first-timer, is trying her luck from Palampur. She is believed to be getting a berth in cabinet if BJP comes to power and she wins the election.
Other first-timers in Congress include Neeraj Nayyar, son of former Congress minister Sagar Chand Nayyar, who is trying his luck from Chamba segment. Surinder Singh Mankotia is another Congress first-timer, with a backing from the Chief Minister, who contested from Jaswan Paragpur. Hari Chand Sharma is another new face of Congress from Manali, and so is Paras Ram from Anni. Pawan Kumar and Ajay Solanki, both close aides of PCC president Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, are first-timers fielded from Sarkaghat and Nahan.
An aide of Rahul Gandhi, Deepak Rathore was fielded from Theog as a first-timer after Vidya Stokes papers were rejected. BJP nominees, who are hoping to be elected for the first time, include Pawan Naiyar from Chamba, D S Thakur from Dalhousie, Reeta Dhiman from Indora, Surendra Shourie Bajra, Anil Sharma from Mandi, Kamlesh Kumari from Bhoranj, Subhas Thakur from Bilaspur, Vijay Jyoti Sain from Kasumpti, Shashi Bala from Rohru.
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