BJP emerges as single-largest party in Shimla municipal polls
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Shimla: The BJP on Saturday emerged as the single-largest party in the Shimla Municipal Corporation (SMC) polls, winning 17 out of 34 seats, just one short of a clear majority, and the hill city is now set to get a mayor from the saffron party for the first time.
The Congress, which is the ruling party in Himachal Pradesh, bagged 13 seats. Independent candidates won from three wards while the CPI(M) managed to retain one seat. According to the BJP’s claims, a party rebel has extended his support to the party. As the BJP seems likely to clinch a majority, this will be the first time that it will rule the key municipal corporation, for which the elections were first held in 1986. The poll verdict for the municipal body is also important as it comes in the run up to the Himachal Pradesh state assembly elections.
The number of wards was increased from 25 in 2012 to 34 this time. In the last election, the BJP and Congress had won 12 and 10 seats respectively while the CPI (M) had won from three wards. The elections to the office of mayor and deputy mayor were held through direct voting in 2012 and the CPI (M) won both the posts. However, the Congress on Saturday claimed that a candidate named Rachna, who won from Vikas Nagar ward, was a party member.
The post of mayor is reserved for a scheduled caste woman this time and choice is limited to just three wards. BJP leader Kusum Sardet, who won from the Annandale ward, seems a likely candidate for the post. The BJP claimed that party rebel Rajesh Kumar, who won from Pantha Ghati, has extended his support and the party is in majority in the 34-member house.
The newly-elected BJP councillors assembled at the party headquarters at Deep Kamal to celebrate victory. As many as 17 wards were reserved for women, including three for scheduled caste women and 50.82% of the 91,000 voters exercised their franchise in polling held on Friday. Out of 17 seats reserved for women, BJP bagged eight, Congress six, independents two and CPI(M) one.