The first list of Congress candidates for the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections is likely to be out on Wednesday after a meeting of the central election committee headed by party chief Sonia Gandhi. Sources in the party said the central election committee (CEC) is likely to meet at 10, Janpath, residence of the Congress president. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, party’s general secretary in-charge of Himachal Sushil Kumar Shinde are also expected to attend the meeting besides incumbent Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and party’s state unit chief Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, the sources said.“The panel will meet to decide candidates for the crucial polls today. Majority of the candidates will be finalized. There are some seats, candidates for which are likely to be decided later. This is because there has been no consensus on whom to offer the candidature,” a source said. Singh has already been declared as the party’s chief ministerial face and the campaign committee head for the November 9 Assembly polls in the hill state. He is likely “to have his way” in the selection of candidates, the sources said. The party’s Screening Committee is headed by former Union Minister Jitendra Singh. It would decide on the candidates, on the basis of the recommendations made by the Pradesh Election Committee (PEC). The PEC has already given 42 single names for as many seats while giving a panel of names for 26 remaining seats. Singh has said that “winnability” was the only factor for distribution of party tickets but did not answer whether the “one family one ticket” formula would be made applicable in the state. The formula was successfully implemented in Punjab earlier. The chief minister confirmed that his son Vikramaditya Singh will contest from Shimla Rural constituency, currently represented by Singh himself. He said his son has every right to contest as he is the Himachal Youth Congress chief.
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