Dharamshala, Dec 13 (UNI) The Congress has decided to extend its support to the rebel BJP candidate from Gangath assembly constituency following the cancellation of the nomination papers of its official candidate Bodh Raj.
The decision to extend support to Ms Anita Dhiman was conveyed to the party activists by state Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh during a public meeting at Rehan in the district yesterday.
Mr Singh also directed the party activists to campaign in her favour during the electioneering, putting at rest speculations on the choice of its candidate from this reserved constituency.
Confirming the party's decision, Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) president Viplove Thakur told UNI here that it was extending support to Ms Dhiman from this constituency following the rejection of the party's official candidate.
However, Ms Dhiman's husband Manohar Dhiman denied receiving any official communication from the Congress party of its decision to extend support to his wife, who is contesting the elections as an independent.
''All our information about the Congress' decision to extend support to my wife is based on newspaper reports, which quote the HPCC president,'' he added.
Mr Dhiman said the local Congress leaders had extended their full support to his wife in these assembly elections.
The Congress had changed its candidate at the last minute and nominated Krishan Kumar following a Supreme Court order, but his nomination papers were rejected since they were not in original and faxed to the returning officer (RO).
The RO, however, first accepted Mr Kumar's papers on the plea that the apex court's order had not been received, but later rejected his papers following a complaint by BJP candidate Desh Raj.
Ms Dhiman was the BJP's official candidate from the constituency before being replaced with Mr Raj after the court's order.
As fate would have been Manohar Dhiman, an active BJP activist from the constituency, who was seeking ticket from the party since 1993, was nominated as its candidate from the constituency in 1998 elections.
However, 10 days later, he was asked to withdraw his papers following the party's decision to field Desh Raj, who was ultimately humbled by Congress' Bodh Raj in the polls.