Fathers secure nomination for HP polls; children await nod

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The election for the Congress would be led by Singh himself. Also awaiting the party nod to contest the November 9 elections is Champa, the daughter of Thakur, who is keen on contesting from the Mandi seat.

Congress Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has declared that he will be contesting the assembly elections from Arki constituency of Himachal Pradesh and BJP has fielded Ratan Singh Pal against him.

Dhumal has opted for a new constituency, Sujanpur, this time instead of his current assembly constituency of Hamirpur.

Arki is now represented by BJP MLA Govind Ram Sharma. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and senior party leaders had discussed the names in a marathon meeting that lasted over four hours. According to BJP sources, a thumping victory could pitchfork Union Minister J P Nadda to the front, while a win close to the victory margin could favour the old warhorse Prem Kumar Dhumal.

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The BJP has also fielded Maheshwar Singh, whose Himachal Lokhit Party had earlier merged with the saffron party. Earlier a loyalist of Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, Sharma will challenge his son Vikramaditya Singh.However, the final list has only six woman nominees. On the other hand, Sujanpur is a Congress stronghold seat and political experts believe that a prominent face like Prem Kumar Dhumal can help the BJP winning the Congress bastion in Himachal Pradesh. Incidentally, the selection of women was the reason for the party delaying its list of candidates.

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.

The filing of nomination is scheduled to begin on October 16 and conclude on October 23.

Meanwhile, the first list of Congress candidates for the is likely to be out today after a meeting of the central election committee headed by party chief Sonia Gandhi.

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