Shimla, Oct 23 (IANS) Senior Congress leader and Irrigation and Public Health Minister Vidya Stokes on Monday filed her nomination from Theog seat in Shimla district for the November 9 Himachal Pradesh assembly elections.
Stokes, 89, submitted her papers from Theog — the seat she represents in the outgoing assembly — on the last day of filing of nominations.
The eight-time legislator is the oldest candidate in the fray.
Earlier, the Congress high command had cleared Deepak Rathore’s name for Theog after a lot of deliberation on Sunday. He too filed his nomination from Theog on Monday, and would be Stokes’ covering candidate.
Vidya Stokes is a long-time Indian hockey administrator and daughter-in-law of American missionary Satyanand Stokes, who is credited with the apple revolution in the hill state. She is known for her proximity to the Gandhi family.
She was hospitalised on Sunday after complaining of a respiratory problem.
She had earlier declined to re-contest from Theog as Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had expressed a desire to contest from the seat.
Later, the Chief Minister decided to contest from Arki in Solan district.
“The party has decided to field Stokes from Theog as she expressed her desire to re-contest after the Chief Minister’s decision not to contest her seat. She was adamant that she had left the seat only for the Chief Minister and since he is now contesting from Arki, she will fight from Theog,” state Congress President Sukhwinder Sukhu told reporters here.
He said Rathore would be the covering candidate of Stokes.
Born on December 8, 1927, Vidya Stokes is known in political circles for her clean image. She has never taken any salary, be it as a legislator or as a minister, throughout her political career. It’s a different matter that she hails from a landed family.
“I work harder than many others who may be half my age,” she had told IANS.
Vidya Stokes entered state politics in 1974 after the death of her husband Lal Chand Stokes.
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