Shimla, Oct 13: Himachal Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh today cleared the uncertainty somewhat over his Assembly constituency and hinted that he might opt for Theog constituency, represented by veteran Congress leader Vidya Stokes.
“I have offers from many constituencies, including Chopal in Shimla and Arki in Solan but the sitting Theog MLA and Block Congress Committee (BCC) have requested me to contest from Theog”, he said adding that he was confident of comfortable victory from any constituency.
“The choice lies between Theog and Arki and I will make my decision known”, Singh said while supporters of Vidya Stokes said that she would not contest and the Chief Minister would be the party candidate in the larger interest of the people.
Vidya Stokes, who would turn 89 in December, is one of the tallest leaders of the party, who entered politics after the death of her husband Lal Chand Stokes, the then Congress MLA from Theog and won the by-election in 1974.
She lost in 1977 during Janta wave and again in 1993 but recorded successive victories in 1982, 1985, 1990, 1998 and 2012 from Theog and won from Kumarsein in 2003 and 2007. She remained Speaker of Vidhan Sabha from 1985 to 1990 and served as a minister in Virbhadra Singh Cabinet from 2003 to 2007 and 2012 till date.
However, Virbhadra Singh categorically stated that he would contest from only one constituency and campaign throughout the state. “I am already campaigning for the past six months and hope that Congress would get absolute majority”.When asked about allocation of party tickets, he said the ticket distribution has almost been finalised and candidates would be announced soon.
Replying to a question, he said that most of the sitting MLAs would be given ticket and would not be axed unnecessarily. The manifesto of Congress party is also ready and is being given final touches. It would be welfare and development oriented taking care of all sections and issues, including farmers, youth, women, employees and senior citizens. Unemployment is a major issue and it would be addressed, he added.
When asked about Modi effect in the elections, he said when it is not working in Gujarat, the home state of the PM, how it can have any impact in Himachal when people are unhappy with the GST and note ban. He claimed that the Congress would get absolute majority. “My government has ensured welfare of entire state and the people would not be misled,” he added.
Source Tribune India