The Congress Screening Committee, which held a meeting on Wednesday to decide on tickets for the 68 Assembly constituencies in Himachal Pradesh, has reportedly cleared 46 names, including most of the sitting MLAs.
The final list is not released yet it is sent to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and the party’s central parliamentary board for approval. Therefore it can take two or three days more.
According to sources, the committee, headed by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikashit and with AICC general secretary Birender Singh, Virbhadra Singh and CLP leader Vidya Stokes as its members, has cleared most of the candidates in constituencies from where only one name has been suggested.
If sources believe, Virbhadra Singh will contest form Shimla Rural, whereas no decision has been taken on candidature of Pratibha Singh. It is learned that candidature of Asha Kumari (Dalhousie) was opposed by Virbhadra Singh and there is also no clarity on sitting Jodhpur MP Chandresh Kumari, who is seeking ticket from Dharamshala along with Sudhir Sharma, who is backed by Virbhadra Singh.
It is learned that all sitting MLAs except four whose constituencies had been affected in delimitation were cleared. While chances of Sohan Lal and Yog Raj, whose constituencies were de-reserved seems bleak.
Names of candidates from Shahpur, Kusumpti, Chamba, Dehra, Hamirpur, Jwalamukhi, Baijnath, Solan and Kasauli are pending among 13 other assembly segments. There are few blunt decisions by party high command as Kailash Prasher, a staunch supporter of Union minister Anand Sharma, who contested from Solan last time, was shifted to Arki. Yadvinder Goma, son of senior Congress leader Milki Ram Goma, will be the nominee from Jaisinghpur. Ram Kumar, son of veteran leader Lajja Ram, will enter the fray from Doon.
The names Surinder Bhardwaj (Churah), Kuldeep Pathania (Bhattiyat), Ram Lal Thakur (Naina Devi), Rajesh Dharmani (Ghumarwin) and Anita Verma (Sujanpur) are final.
Meanwhile, there is also a major development as rumor suggests the probability of former Congress minister Major (retd) Vijai Singh Mankotia, who was suspended from the party in 2007, may return to the party fold. However, Mankotia pretended to be ignorant about any such development.