NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday declared its candidates for all 68 seats in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections slated on November 9 while the ruling Congress followed suit declaring the first list of 59 candidates.
Nominations for the elections that began on October 16 are closing on October 23. The Congress has declared Chief Minister Raja Virbhadra Singh as its CM candidate and made him chairman of the campaign committee replacing his bitter rival State Congress chief Sukhwinder Sukhu.
Former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, who will contest from Sujanpur, has not been named the CM candidate but he would lead the BJP as all others for the CM’’s post do not figure in the list, including his MP son Anurag Thakur, Union Health Minister Jagat Prasad Nadda and former CM Shanta Kumar.
The Congress had ousted the BJP government headed by Dhumal in the last elections in 2012.
Anil Sharma, son of former union telecom minister Sukhram, who quit the Congress as a minister early this week, is the BJP candidate from Mandi.
The party has fielded six women candidates, including Rita Dhiman from the reserved Indora seat.
Virbhadra Singh has been fielded by the Congress from Arki while state party chief Sukhhu from Nadaun and former state party chief Viplova Thakur, a Rajya Sabha member, from Dehra.
No candidate was yet announced for Theog won by eight-time MLA Vidya Stokes, who does not want to contest any more. Virbhadra Singh had offered to contest from here if Stokes remains adamant not to contest.
The Congress is also yet to decide its candidate for Mandi where the BJP has fielded Anil Sharma who deserted the party and went into the BJP fold.