Congress announces screening committee for Himachal polls

New Delhi, Oct 13 (IANS) The Congress on Friday announced a three-member screening committee headed by former MP Jitendra Singh to shortlist candidates for the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections, slated on November 9.

The committee, which will screen the candidates for all 68 assembly constituencies, will forward the names to the party leadership.

The other members of the committee are Vijay Inder Singla and Gaurav Gogoi, both members, party General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi said in a statement.

In a related development, party Vice President Rahul Gandhi has appointed state Congress President Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu as Chairman of the Election Committee and former Union Minister Anand Sharma as a member.

Gandhi has already named six-time Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, 83, to lead the party in the election campaigning and if the party returns to power he will be the chief ministerial candidate.

The BJP is still dithering over its Chief Minister candidate. The main contenders are Leader of Opposition and two-time Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda, who is known for his proximity to party’s organizational leadership.

The Election Commission on Thursday announced that the state would vote for a new assembly on November 9 and the counting would be held on December 18. The term of the 68-member assembly ends on January 7 next year.

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