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Elections

23 first-time MLAs in 68-member Himachal Pradesh assembly

SHIMLA: Among the 68 newly elected legislators in Himachal Pradesh, 23 are first-timers — 14 of the Congress, eight of BJP and one independent. The election, results of which were announced Thursday, threw up many upsets and surprises.

Eight cabinet minister were trounced. Only three — outgoing Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and his cabinet colleagues Bikram Singh and Sukh Ram Chaudhary — managed to retain their seats. BJP stalwart Rajiv Bindal, who was elected to the assembly five times in a row and served as minister, speaker and party’s state unit president, lost the poll.

Thirty-six outgoing MLAs will not be members of the fourteenth Himachal Assembly — 26 members lost the elections while 10 others did not contest. Senior Congress leaders and former ministers, including Kaul Singh, Asha Kumari and Ram Lal Thakur, also failed to win.

The new faces included Lokender Singh (Anni), Dr Janak Raj (Bharmour), Triolok Jamwal (Bilaspur), D S Thakur (Dalhousie), Puran Chand (Darang), Deep Raj (Karsog), Dilip Singh (Sarkaghat), Ranvir Singh Nikka (Nurpur), all from the BJP. The Congress gained 20 seats and increased its tally to 40 in the 68-member House. Its 14 new faces includ are Suresh Kumar (Bhoranj), Neerj Nayyar (Chamba), Sudarshan Singh Babloo(Chintpurni), Chander Shekhar (Dharampur), Chetanya Sharma (Gagret), Malender Rajan (Indora), Devinder Kumar (Kutlehar), Bhuvneshar Gaur (Manali), Raghuvir Singh Bali (Nagrota), Ajay Solanki (Nahan), Kewal Singh Pathania (Shahpur), Harish Janartha (Shimla), Kuldeep Rathore (Theog) and Vinod Sultanpuri (Kasuali).

Independent Ashish Sharma, a BJP rebel, was elected from Hamirpur.

The new assembly has three six-time MLAs, including Jai Ram Thakur, former Congress minister Chander Kumar and senior Congress leader Harashwardhan Chauhan.

Leader of the opposition in the outgoing assembly, Mukesh Agnihotri, Anil Sharma and Kuldeep Singh Pathania are the three five-time legislator.

One of the frontrunners for the chief minister’s post Sukhvinder Singh Sukku, former BJP state president Satpal Singh Satti, Speaker of outgoing assembly Vipin Parmar, Jagat Singh Negi, Nand Lal, Rohit Thakur, Sudhir Sharma, Vinay Kumar and Bikram Singh and Sukh Ram Chaudhary are among four-time legislators.

There are 11 three-time MLAs and 18 two-time legislators, Vikramaditya Singh, the son of former chief minister Virbhadra Singh.

Source: Press Trust of India

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