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Multi-cornered contests in most Himachal seats

February 11, 2003 20:19 IST

Multi-cornered contests are on the cards in most constituencies in Himachal Pradesh where 408 candidates, including Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, [Bharatiya Janata Party], Congress veteran Virbhadra Singh and Himachal Vikas Congress chief Sukh Ram are trying their luck for the February 26 assembly election.

State BJP chief Jai Krishan Sharma, Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee president Vidya Stokes and 63 sitting MLAs are also in the fray.

The BJP and Congress have put up candidates in all the 68 seats, the HVC in 42 constituencies, the Communist Party of India in six and CPI-Marxist in four.

The Nationalist Congress Party, making its electoral debut in the state, has fielded eight candidates while the Samajwadi Party is contesting 23 seats.

Nearly 200 independents and nominees of smaller parties are also in the race.

Dhumal is locked in four-cornered contest in Bamsan constituency while Virbhadra Singh has jumped into the fray from Rohroo constituency.

Stokes is facing Sandeepani Bharadwaj [BJP] in a four-cornered contest in Kumarsein while Sukh Ram's main challengers are D D Thakur [Congress] and Rani Kiran Kumari [BJP].

Balloting will be held for 65 constituencies on February 26.

Three snow-bound constituencies -- Lahaul Spiti, Kinnaur and Pangi Bharmaur -- will go to polls in June.

Counting of ballots will take place on March 1.

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