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CM, PCC chief favour state leader for Himachal RS seat
Prashant Sood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 12
Amid hard lobbying by aspirants to the lone Rajya Sabha vacancy from Himachal Pradesh, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and PCC chief Viplove Thakur have urged the party’s central leadership to nominate a leader from within the state for the seat.

The Chief Minister, who is expected to meet AICC leaders tomorrow, has said that people of Himachal Pradesh want that the Rajya Sabha nominee should be from within the state.

“The state has only three Rajya Sabha seats of which one has fallen vacant. Nominating a person from outside will not be appropriate. It would lead to sharp reaction from people,” he said.

The Chief Minister said he would favour an experienced leader for the seat as the Rajya Sabha was a house of elders but the person should be someone who has not been adjusted either in the government or the party.

Mrs Thakur, who is considered an aspirant for the Rajya Sabha seat, told The Tribune that she had also conveyed to the high command that the seat should be given to a leader from the state.

Sources said that aspirants have been meeting AICC leaders to stake their claim to the seat. They said a signature campaign has been launched in favour of Mr Natha Singh, who is considered close to the Chief Minister.

Revenue Minister Sat Mahajan, former Ministers Vijai Singh Mankotia and Vikram Katoch, Ms Krishna Mohini, Ms Devi Cherian, and Mr L.R. Sharma, Mr P. Rai and Mr A.N. Vidyarthi are among several aspirants to the post.

While aspirants from Kangra are emphasising the need for “regional balance” in view of “less representation” to the region in the state Cabinet, a section of the state leadership is in favour of looking at the issue from a broader perspective. They said that the issue of regional balance was even raised at the time of giving representation to the state in the Union Cabinet but the central leadership preferred to induct a leader from Shimla.

AICC sources said the central leadership has not taken any decision on the choice for the Rajya Sabha seat so far. They said that nomination of a leader from outside the state had not been ruled out as the party leadership may decide to nominate a sitting member who will not be able to get re-elected from the state he was representing earlier. The sources said that the decision on the seat is expected to be taken a day before March 17, which is the last date of filing nominations.

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