Shimla: The grand old party Congress is trusting its old warhorses to leave behind greenhorns to win the November 12 electoral race in Himachal Pradesh.
In comparison, the state ruling BJP has largely discarded its veterans and reposed faith on comparatively younger faces with the slogan ‘rivaj badlega’ (electoral traditions will change), meaning to buck the trend to sweep the polls alternatively as both arch rivals ruled the state from 1985.
Out of 412 candidates in the fray, 24 are female and 388 male candidates. A total of 55, 92, 828 voters will elect their representatives. Of them, 193, 106 are first-time voters in the age of 18-19 years. There are 121, 409 voters above 80 years, while 56, 501 voters with disabilities.
Among the eldest candidates, the Congress has fielded Col. Dhani Ram Shandil (82) from Solan; Chandra Kumar (78) from Jawali; Kaul Singh Thakur (76) from Drang; Thakur Singh Bharmouri (75) from Bharmour; Kishori Lal (75) from Baijnath and Khimi Ram (73) from Banjar.
Congress rebel Gangu Ram Musafir (77), who has been denied the party nomination, is contesting as an Independent from Pachhad.
The youngest candidate is Piyush Kanga (26), who is in fray from Bilaspur as an Independent.
The others are Chaitanya Sharma (28) of the Congress from Gagret; Jabna Kumari (29) of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) from Nachan; Puja (29) of the Himachal Jan Kranti Party from Bharmour, Manisha Kumari (30) of AAP from Nurpur; Kishori Lal (31) of the CPI(M) from Karsog; Vikramaditya Singh (33) of the Congress from Shimla (Rural); and Deep Raj (34) of the BJP from Karsog.
The BJP has denied the party ticket to 11 sitting legislators, shifting seats of two ministers, denying nomination to one minister, whose son has been fielded from that constituency, and swapping seats of two veterans owing to infighting.
The grand old party, which is trying to build up its ground on slogan ‘Himachal ka Sankalp, Congress hi Vikalp’ (For Himachal’s resolve, the Congress is the only alternative), has retained all its 20 outgoing lawmakers.