Himachal Pradesh Assembly Elections 2017: BJP releases list of 68 candidates

BJP president Amit Shah with Union health minister JP Nadda senior leaders Shanta Kumar and Prem Kumar Dhumal and Himachal Pradesh BJP chief Satpal Singh Satti at the party’s “Yuva Hunkar Rally” at Kangra near Dharamsala

The chief minister's son, Vikramaditya Singh, is a strong contender for the Shimla (rural) seat.

Among the nine constituencies where candidates are yet to be announced include Theog, which is represented by veteran leader and minister Vidya Stokes, who has made a decision to withdraw from electoral politics citing her advanced age; She will turn 89 in December. Congress rebel Pramod Sharma, who too had joined the BJP, has been fielded from Shimla (Rural). He had won the 2012 assembly election from Hamirpur seat but the top brass of BJP has fielded him from Sujapur as Hamirpur is a BJP stronghold seat and can be easily won irrespective of the party candidate.

Virbhadra Singh had earlier said he wanted to contest the election from a seat that the Congress had not won in any previous polls. If the Congress wins, it would be his seventh term as the chief minister.

The state BJP Mahila Morcha president, Indu Goswami, who is known to be close to the Prime Minister, has been fielded from Palampur constituency, which is the hometown of former chief minister and Member of Parliament Shanta Kumar.

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Vijay Jyoti Sen, sister-in-law of Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh's wife Pratibha, and former Congress leader Pawan Nayyar have been given tickets from Kusumpti and Chamba.

The Congress high command after assessing the surveys and field reports was keen that party pitches heavyweights from those constituencies where the party had lost election for a decade.

The Congress on Wednesday announced its first list of 59 candidates. The last date of filing nominations is October 23 and the polling is on November 9.

Senior ministers in the Himachal cabinet have been asked to defend their turfs with Thakur Singh Bharmouri contesting from Bharmaour, G S Bali from Nagrota, Mukesh Agnihotri from Haroli, Sudhir Sharma from Dharamsala, Sujan Singh Pathania from Fatehpur and Dhaniram Shandil from Solan.

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