THE HIMACHAL Congress has called for a State Election Committee meeting on October 2 to finalise the names of its candidates for the upcoming bypolls. The BJP is yet to decide when to do the same.
State Congress president Kuldeep Singh Rathore said the party’s co-incharge Sanjay Dutt will be present at this meeting and separate panels for all constituencies will be sent to the party high command after the meeting.
Most of the candidate names have already been cleared at the party level as there was no fighting for tickets this time, sources said.
Earlier this week, the Election Commission had announced that byelections in Mandi parliamentary constituency and three assembly segments of Arki, Jubbal-Kotkhai and Fatehpur in Himachal Pradesh will be held on October 30. The votes will be counted on November 2. The EC said a notification will be issued on October 1 and the nomination process will start on the same day. The last date for filing nominations is October 8. The nominations will be scrutinised on October 11 and the last date for withdrawing papers is October 13.
In Jubbal Kotkhai Vidhan Sabha constituency of Shimla district, former MLA Rohit Thakur is already campaigning after the demise of BJP MLA Narender Bragta. There is no other contender from the Congress for this by election. The party has given him a green signal to go in the fray, sources said.
In Arki Vidhan Sabha constituency, which fell vacant after the demise of former chief minister Virbhadra Singh, there are two contenders for the party ticket: Congress General Secretary Sanjay Awasthi, who contested in 2012 Vidhan Sabha elections and lost, and Rajender Thakur, close aide of late Virbhadra Singh, are vying for the ticket. According to party sources, Awasthi may get the ticket as he is close to the Congress high command.
In Fatehpur Vidhan Sabha constituency of Kangra district, where after the demise of former MLA Sujan Singh Pathania, the seat fell vacant, his son Bhawani Singh Pathania has already started campaigning.
In Mandi parliamentary constituency, which fell vacant after former BJP MP Ram Sawroop Sharma died by suicide, Congress wanted to field Paritibha Singh, former MP and wife of late Virbhadra Singh. However, she did not say anything publicly about her candidature but she and her son, a Congress MLA from Shimla Rural, Vikramaditya Singh, had met All India Congress Party general secretary K C Venugopal in Delhi a few days ago.
Meanwhile, BJP is yet to decide when to finalise the names of its candidates. BJP General Secretary Trilok Jamwal said, “Tonight we will decide when to sit for this purpose.” BJP will file nomination after Navratri, either on October 7 or 8, the last date to file nominations, he added.
Jamwal said: “In BJP, any worker can be allotted a ticket and we will win the Mandi parliamentary constituency as well as other Vidhan Sabha constituencies.”