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HomeHimachal PradeshBJP Mayor loses own seat in Shimla as Congress wrests control of...

BJP Mayor loses own seat in Shimla as Congress wrests control of India’s oldest civic body

The Newz Radar

BJP leader Satya Kaundal, the outgoing Mayor of the Shimla Municipal Corporation, has lost the election to first-timer Mamta Chandel of the Congress from Ward No. 19 Sanjauli Chowk.
Kaundal’s defeat is being seen as a major setback for the Himachal BJP, which was harping on the developmental works undertaken in Shimla under the Smart City Project. Lots was at stake in municipal corporation elections for the Congress and the BJP, with the key rivals eyeing to score a win in the oldest civic body of the country.
The Shimla MC polls are being held after a delay of over one year. The first election to SMC was held in 1986. Sukhu himself remained an elected councillor of Shimla MC twice in 1993-98 and from 1998 to 2003.
The five-year term of the SMC ended in June last year, but the elections could not be held due to court cases challenging the delimitation of wards which had been increased from 34 to 41 by the previous BJP government. The election is a prestige battle for Chief Minister Sukhu and also the first test of his popularity after being chosen for the top post in December last year.
The BJP made inroads into the Shimla MC in the 2017 elections by winning 17 out of 34 wards while Congress won 12. Independent candidates won four seats and one went to CPI-M.
One seat short of a majority, the BJP, however, was to get control of the civic body by getting elected its mayor and deputy mayor candidates for the first time in the history of Shimla.
It was a matter of prestige for the BJP too as it targeted the Congress government over alleged governance failure and large-scale closure of institutions.
Former CM Jai Ram Thakur and Shimla Lok Sabha MP Suresh Kashyap, who was removed as the state party chief in the midst of the election, have been at the forefront of the election campaign even as the BJP saw a leadership change with Rajeev Bindal returning as the state party president after three years.
Union Minister Anurag Thakur too roadshows in Shimla and Congress’ general secretary in-charge Rajeev Shukla himself was camping in Shimla to oversee the party’s campaign. State party chief Pratibha Singh too took to roads to improve the prospects of the party candidates.



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