3 candidates file papers in Himachal on first day

Three candidates, including two Independent, on Monday filed nomination papers on the first day for the May 19 Lok Sabha election to the four seats of Himachal Pradesh, official said.

However, no candidate from the national parties filed the papers.

Two candidates filed their nomination from the Mandi seat and one from Shimla.

Shiv Lal Thakur of the Bhartiya Shakti Chetna Party and Guman Singh filed papers from Mandi, while Ravi filed his nomination from Shimla.

Both Guman Singh, a former executive engineer with the state Public Works Department and now an environment activist, and Ravi, a vegetable seller, filed papers as Independent candidates.

The filing of nominations will continue till April 29, election officials said.

The papers will be scrutinised on April 30. The last date of withdrawal of candidature is May 2, an official told IANS.

The four constituencies have a total of 50,96,869 electors, including 25,84,183 men, 25,12,627 women and 59 third gender.

There are 133,083 first-time voters but the number may increase further by April 29, when the Election Commission clears 182,890 new applications.

The main contest is between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress.

In the Lok Sabha polls, Himachal Pradesh has traditionally favoured the party at the helm in the state, except for 2014, when the BJP won all the four seats.

In 2009, the BJP, which was then in power in the state, won three of the four Lok Sabha seats.