At 84, Vidya Stokes to fight her 10th election on Nov 4
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Age has never been an issue with Congress veteran Vidya Stokes, the 84-year-old towering apple woman of Himachal Pradesh is set to contest her 10th election on November 4.
A seven-time MLA and the oldest candidate in fray, Stokes is pitched in a seven-cornered contest in Theog constituency of Shimla. It has been personal standing as a veteran politician that has made Stokes win seven elections — five of these from Theog.
Stokes has also been a potential contender for the chief ministerial post against state Congress chief Virbhadra Singh. She lost her leadership race to Virbhadra in 2003 for want of numbers, but became the leader of opposition in 2007 after Congress lost power to the BJP.
Thrice she was offered the post of Governor by the Congress, she, however, opted to contest polls. "I am not keen on the Governor's job, want to stay among my people and work actively."
This time, she is fighting the election as an ally of Virbhadra and right now, only talks about Virbhadra being the choice for the chief minister's post if the Congress gets the majority.
"Only God knows what position she will get. We have been voting for her in the hope that she will occupy the chief minister's post. Madam says this time Raja Sahib (Virbhadra) will be the chief minister," said Satya Chauhan, a housewife at Matiyana — a vegetable and apple growing belt.
The constituency has become a hot potato for the main contenders. Stokes is facing her old rival and sitting MLA, Rakesh Verma (BJP), senior CPM leader Rakesh Singha and Trinamool Congress' Pramod Sharma.
Verma, a three-time winner, had defeated Stokes in 1993 and jeopardised her chances to position herself for the chief minister's post. She avenged her defeat in 1998. Later, Stokes shifted to Kumarsain, a nearby constituency, and won in 2003 and 2007. After delimitation scrapping Kumarsain, Stokes has returned to Theog.
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