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HomePoliticsHimachal Pradesh Elections 2017Age no bar for contesting elections in Himachal Pradesh

Age no bar for contesting elections in Himachal Pradesh

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The state has many elderly politicians who have won back-to-back elections for decades, and still remain their party’s best bet to retain their seat.

Last week when 89-year old Vidya Stokes, a cabinet minister from Himachal Pradesh and veteran Congress leader, announced her retirement from electoral politics, she offered her traditional seat — Theog — to chief minister Virbhadra Singh (84) to contest from. BJP MP Anurag Thakur then quipped through a tweet:

“A 90-year-old leaves Theog seat for an 84-year-old youth. This is Congress for the youth.”

What Thakur may not have realised that his father, 73-year-old Prem Kumar Dhumal, is also hoping to become the state’s CM once again in case the BJP wins the forthcoming assembly polls.

But then in Himachal Pradesh, age is just a number for many politicians who have won back-to-back elections for decades, some for half a century, and still remain their party’s best bet to retain their seats.

Virbhadra Singh (84), Arki

The longest serving chief minister of the state, Virbhadra Singh has thrown his hat in the ring once again to be the CM of the state for the 7th time. Son of Raja Padam Singh of Bushahar, 1934-born Virbhadra entered politics in 1962 winning Mahasu Lok Sabha seat. He has remained an MP four times since and a Union minister.

Singh entered state politics through a by-election of 1983 in Jubbal Kotkhai, later shifting to Rohru which he won five times. He became CM in 1983, 1985, 1993, 1998, 2003 and 2012. The 83-year-old shifted his seat to Shimla Rural in 2012 and this time he is contesting from Arki.

Prem Kumar Dhumal (73), Sujanpur

In 1984, Dhumal contested the Hamirpur parliamentary polls but lost the seat, only to win it back in 1989 and 1991. In 1996, he lost the seat to Vikram Singh Katoch in 1996. The Hamirpur assembly seat was with the BJP since 1977, won by Jagdev Chand five times.

After Jagdev Chand’s death, Dhumal became active in state politics and became state BJP president in 1993 and CM in 1998 winning the Bamsan seat. He retained the Bamsan seat in 2003 and 2007 when he again became CM. In the last elections he won from Hamirpur assembly seat and this time he is the BJP candidate from Sujanpur.

Viplove Thakur (74), Jaswan-Paragpur

Jaswan began as a communist party stronghold when comrade Paras Ram won it in 1967. Paras Ram’s wife Sarla Sharma, a Congress leader, tried to win the seat in 1982 but could not. In 1985, their daughter Viplove Thakur won the seat back and held it two times till 2003 when BJP’s Bikram Singh defeated her.

In 2007 her brother Nikhil Rajour won from Bikram Singh but lost it back to him in the last elections. In 2014 Viplove was chosen to the Rajya Sabha for the second time. At 74, she is now the Congress candidate from Dehra, Kangra, pitted against Ravindra Singh, the sitting Dehra MLA of the BJP.

Kaul Singh Thakur (72), Darang

1945-born Kaul Singh became an MLA for the first time in 1977 from Darang as Janata Party candidate. After joining Congress, he won the 1982 and 1985 polls but lost to BJP in 1990. This was the only time BJP has won this seat.

Since 1993, Kaul has remained invincible on this seat winning every election. The eight-time MLA has remained minister several times and was speaker from 1993 to 1998. This time he is again the Congress candidate and will fight BJP’s Jawahar Thakur.

Gangu Ram Musafir (72), Pachhad

Pachhad, a reserved constituency, is synonymous with Gangu Ram Musafir who has held it seven times since 1982 when he won as an independent. With the Congress after that, he remained invincible till 2012 when BJP’s Suresh Kumar Kashyap defeated him.

The 72-year-old leader who was made speaker in 2003 is contesting again on the seat, this time against Suresh Kumar who is BJP’s repeat candidate.

Gulab Singh Thakur (70), Joginder Nagar

Born in 1948, Gulab Singh Thakur has been Joginder Nagar MLA for seven times losing the seat only twice since 1977. He debuted as a Janata Party candidate in 1977. In 1985, he was fielded by the Congress but lost to an independent. He won the seat as a Congress candidate thrice.

He joined the BJP and remained speaker from 1998 to 2003 when Dhumal was CM. In 2003, as BJP candidate he lost to the Congress but won back the seat in 2007 and 2012. His daughter is married to Dhumal’s son Anurag Thakur, an MP. This time he will contest against Jiwan Thakur of the Congress for this seat.

Mansa Ram (76), Karsog

Mansa Ram is contesting his ninth election this time from the reserved seat of Karsog in Mandi district. He was first elected as an Independent from this constituency in 1967. He later joined Congress and has remained MLA four times since, once as independent again and another time on Himachal Vikas Congress (HVC) ticket. He also joined the BJP briefly.

Ram remained a minister of state when Y.S. Parmar was chief minister and became a chief parliamentary secretary in the present government. He again faces Hira Lal of BJP whom he had defeated in the last polls.

Editor’s note: Vidya Stokes was incorrectly mentioned in this list . The error is regretted. 

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