The ensuing Shimla Municipal Corporation (MC) election to elect 34 councilors, polling for which would be held on Tuesday, have gained importance as both ruling Congress and opposition BJP are trying their best to capture the prestigious and oldest Municipal Corporation of India.
The Congress party, which snatched power in Himachal Pradesh from the BJP in the last Assembly election in December 2022, is once again trying to prove its hold on the voters of the Capital city.
On the other hand BJP is making all out efforts to retain Shimla Corporation, after winning a majority in last election for the first time out of last seven MC elections for Shimla MC .
Out of seven MC elections held in Shimla so far Congress has won five times, BJP once and CPM won the post of Mayor and Deputy Mayor in direct election held in 2012.
In the first election held for MC Shimla in 1986 the Congress candidate Adarsh Kumar Sood had won election of Mayor by a toss defeating BJP candidate but the post of Deputy Mayor was won by the opposition candidate as CPM which had two councilors and abstained for BJP’s Mayoral candidate, voted for him.
All subsequent elections held in 1992, 1997, 2003 and 2007 were won by Congress with a comfortable majority and BJP won the last election in 2017. Congress and BJP have fielded candidates in all 34 wards, CPM in four wards and AAP candidates are trying their luck in several wards.
Political parties are promising civic amenities, smooth water supply, decongestion of traffic and other facilities, besides beautification of Shimla. The social connect of contestants with people is also a very important factor in the election.
Though BJP has made several populist promises to retain power in Shimla MC but it would be a real challenge for the party to win back the confidence of voters so soon after losing power in the last Assembly election.
The Congress has many advantages in its favour as the party had won seven of the eight Assembly constituencies of Shimla district,and majority voters in Shimla MC Area hails from Shimla district.
Chief Minister Sukvinder Singh Sukhu has been councilor twice in Shimla MC and knows the majority of voters personally in Shimla. The Congress government has also tried to fulfill its election promises of restoring OPS and has recently announced to release 3 percent DA and regularize services of government employees completing two years service. As state government employees are in majority in several wards and also act as opinion makers in elections, they play a significant role in Shimla MC Election.