Congress confident of winning tribal seats

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Shimla, Nov 14 (UNI) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh today expressed confidence that Congress would retain all the three tribal assembly seats where polling was held in the first phase today.

''The Congress will retain all the three tribal seats, which it swept in the 2003 assembly elections, with handsome margins,'' he told reporters after the first phase of polling was over here.

Mr Singh said the party was also ready for the second phase of elections, which would be held on December 19.

Referring to the selection of candidates for the remaining 65 assembly constituencies, he said over 45 to 50 per cent names have already been cleared by the party high command, while the selection names of the remaining candidates would be done soon.

He said the party would announce the names of the candidates after finalising the names for all the 65 constituencies.

Replying to a question on the BJP, the Chief Minister said it was split vertically and horizontally and a display of unity by the party leaders was deceptive.

''The party is split into factions each trying to out do the other and this will go against the party.'' Referring to the presence of the BSP in the assembly elections, he said it was not likely to have any impact in polls, which would be fought between the traditional rivals the Congress and the BJP, he said.

''The BSP's elephant will not survive here as the grass it feeds on does not grow here,'' he added.

UNI

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