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Congress Banking on Old Guard in State Polls, BJP Silent on CM Candidate

File photo of Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh. he is contesting as the Chief Minister candidate again in the upcoming assembly elections. (PTI Photo)

File photo of Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh. he is contesting as the Chief Minister candidate again in the upcoming assembly elections. (PTI Photo)

Post 2014, Congress has been banking on its old guard in states. For instance, earlier this year, five elections took place. In three out of five occasions, Congress fought under the leadership of veterans.

New Delhi: As Himachal Pradesh is gearing up for voting on November 9, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is once again silent on its chief ministerial nominee. Congress, on the other hand, has named 83-year-old Virbhadra Singh as its CM candidate. The announcement from the Grand Old Party is on expected lines as the veteran leader is the longest serving CM of Himachal Pradesh.

Post 2014, Congress has been banking on its old guard in states. For instance, earlier this year, five elections took place. In three out of five occasions, Congress fought under the leadership of veterans.

In Manipur, Congress’s CM pick Ibobi Singh was 68. Similarly, in Punjab, the party’s CM nominee, Captain Amarinder Singh, the only winning candidate in the pack, was 75. In Uttarakhand, the Congress’s choice, Harish Rawat, was 68. In Goa, the party didn’t declare a candidate for the CM’s post. In Uttar Pradesh, the party initially nominated 79-year old Sheila Dikshit as its CM face. However, later it stitched an alliance with the Samajwadi Party.

Last year, in Kerala, Congress reposed faith in 72-year-old Oommen Chandy. Similarly, in Assam, sitting CM Tarun Gogoi, 82, took an unsuccessful shot at power.

In states like Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry, where elections took place last year, the Congress chose not to name any CM nominee.

The Congress fought in alliance with the Left Front in West Bengal, and in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, they forged an alliance with the DMK. Similarly, in 2015 Delhi Assembly polls, the Congress refrained from officially declaring CM candidate. In Bihar, the party fought in alliance with JD(U) and RJD, which unraveled after CM Nitish Kumar broke ranks to join hands with the BJP.

During Maharashtra polls in 2014, all parties chose not to announce their CM candidate. In Jharkhand, the Congress fought in alliance with the RJD, JD(U) and JMM. While in Haryana, the party’s CM nominee Bhupinder Singh Hooda was 68 three years ago.

On the other hand, BJP banked upon younger candidates. For instance, Manohar Parikkar, CM of Goa was 61 when elected. Similarly, N. Biren Singh, CM of Manipur, was 56 when chosen for the job.

UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath was 44 when elected for the job. Similarly, Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat was 56.

In 2016, BJP chose Sarbananda Sonowal as the CM of Assam, he was 52 then. In 2014, party’s nominees for CM post — Manohar Lal Khattar (Haryana), Devendra Fadnavis (Maharashtra) and Raghubar Das (Jharkhand) were 61, 44 and 59 respectively.