The BJP announced a list of 68 candidates for the upcoming Himachal Assembly elections. Further, former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and Himachal Pradesh BJP chief Satpal Singh Satti are among the party candidates for the state assembly polls.
Dhumal, a two-time chief minister, will contest from Sujanpur instead of Hamirpur, which he represents in the outgoing Assembly. Dhumal and Union minister J P Nadda are seen as two most likely choices for the post of chief minister if the saffron party comes back to power in the Congress-ruled state.
The BJP has not named its chief ministerial candidate. The BJP Central Election Committee had met last week to finalise their candidates in the state. The single-phase election will be held on November 9. The party has dropped from the list four sitting MLAs --Gobind Ram Sharma from Arki, Rikhi Ram Kaundal from Jhandutta, B K Chauhan from Chamba and Anil Dhiman, who won the bypoll to the Bhoranj seat in April 2017.
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.
Maheshwar Singh, who merged his Himachal Lokhit Party (HLP) with BJP has been fielded from Chopal. As many as 12 new faces and an equal number of former MLAs and ministers have got tickets.
The party has fielded six women this time, one less than the 2012 polls. They are Sarveen Chowdhary (Shahpurconstituency), Rita Dhiman (Indora), Indu Gauswamy (Palampur), Kamlesh Kumari (Bhoranj), Vijay Jyoti Sen (Kusumpti) and Shashi Bala (Rohroo).
The new faces included former IAS officer J R Katwal from Jhanduta, Rajesh Kashyap from Solan, D S Thakur from Dalhousie, Rattan Singh Pal from Arki, Surendra Shourie from Banjar, Indu Gauswamy from Palampur and Ravinder Dhiman fromJaisinghpur.
With PTI inputs