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India

Congress Clears 16 Names For Himachal Polls, All Sitting MLAs To Contest

Disgruntled leader Anand Sharma back at the helm, also attended meeting.

First phase of Panchayat polls in ten Haryana districts
Image used for Representational Purpose only. (Photo: PTI/File)

Chandigarh: Congress is proving to be the early risers keeping the upcoming Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections scheduled for November 2022 in mind. But will it really translate into a majority in the Assembly is a big question.

Congress has cleared the names of all the sitting MLAs for the 2022 Assembly polls. In the 2017 polls, 20 Congress lawmakers won the elections.

The names of these 20 legislators were cleared at a Pradesh Election Committee (PEC) meeting which was held at Chhattisgarh Bhawan in Delhi.

Congress had 22 MLAs in the house of 68 legislators but two MLAs Pawan Kajal (Kangra) and Lakhwinder Singh Rana (Nalagarh) joined the saffron party.

The names which have been cleared are Sudhir Sharma from Dharmshala, Rajesh Dharmani from Ghuwarwein, Anirudh Singh the sitting MLA from Kasumpti, RS Bali, son of deceased Congress minister GS Bali from Nagrota Bagwan, senior Congress leader Kaul Singh Thakur from Drang in Mandi, Vinod Sultanpuri from Kasauli assembly seat.

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From Bhattiyat in Chamba Kuldeep Pathania’s name has been cleared, Ajay Mahajan will fight from Nurpur in Kangra, Chander Kumar will fight from Jawali, Kuldeep Kumar from Chintpurni in Una, Ajay Solanki from Nahan in Sirmaur and Ram Kumar from Doon in Solan district.

From the Chopal assembly seat, former MLA Subhash Manglet and HPCC general secretary Rajneesh Khimta are in the race while from Pachhad the names of former minister Gangu Ram Musafir and Dyal Pyari are in contention.

From Theog, former state Congress president Kuldeep Rathore is keen to contest polls apart from Deepak Rathore, who had contested the 2017 assembly elections but lost.

According to the sources, some other sure-shot candidates whose names have not been announced but will fight elections are Pratibha Singh from Shimla Rural, Mukesh Agnihotri from Haroli, Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu from Nadaun, Harshwardhan Chauhan from Shillai.

Anand Sharma too attended the meeting

Importantly, a big relief for the Congress was the former Union minister Anand Sharma’s presence at this meeting. Sharma had resigned as chairman of the steering committee for the Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls.

Subsequently, he had also met Ghulam Nabi Azad, who had recently quit the Congress. Sharma had resigned as he felt sidelined when the party took important decisions regarding its Himachal affairs.

He had major differences with the All India Congress Committee in charge of Himachal affairs Rajeev Shukla. Sources said, for now, the differences have been ironed out.