The BJP today emerged as the single largest party, winning 17 out of 34 seats, in the Shimla Municipal Corporation (SMC) polls, just one short of clear majority and the hill city is now set to get a mayor from the saffron party for the first time.
Four independents and one CPM candidate were also elected.
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. 50 percent (17) seats have been reserved for women including three for SC women and three seats are reserved for SC men.
However, the candidates did not contest on party symbols. The post of Deputy Mayor is unreserved. The term of both posts is two-and-a-half years. BJp workers chanted "Jai Sri Ram" when former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal joined other party leaders, including the newly elected councillors, during the celebrations.
"The Shimla Municipal Corporation election was our semi-final that we have won".
"The party has got a fair mandate to head the corporation and show the way to run it's affairs", said Dr Rajeev Bindal, BJP general secretary.
In 2012, the CPI-M won the posts of Mayor and Deputy Mayor, who were elected directly unlike this time. At a time when BJP was claiming major public support following demonetization and other policies, the results have left people speculating for the political outcome of next assembly elections. It thus ruled the civic body with its three members in the present 25-member house with the majority of councillors belonging to the BJP.
Interestingly, the age-old issues of water shortage and spread of water-borne diseases were the prominent issues in the polls, besides shortage of parking lots, traffic jams and unscientific disposal of solid waste.
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