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Elections

Congress sweeps Shimla Municipal Corporation polls with 24 wards, BJP gets 9; AAP draws blank

SHIMLA: The ruling Congress on Thursday swept the Shimla Municipal Corporation (SMC) polls with two-third majority by winning 24 wards out of total 34, wresting the prestigious civic body from the BJP.

The BJP captured nine wards while the CPI-M managed to win just one ward, Shimla Deputy Commissioner Aditya Negi said. Both the BJP and the Congress had fielded 34 candidates each and the CPI-M had put up four candidates. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which fielded 21 candidates, drew a blank in the SMC polls held on Tuesday. All the nine independents were also defeated. A total of 102 contestants were in the fray.

The Congress had won the assembly polls in December 2022 winning 40 out of 68 seats.

In the 2017 SMC elections, the BJP had wrested the civic body from the Congress for the first time in 32 years, winning 17 wards. The Congress had won 12 wards, the CPI-M one and the rest four wards were captured by independent candidates.

The Congress had advantage in the civic polls as assembly constituencies of two cabinet ministers, Aniruddh Singh (Kasumpti) and Vikramaditya Singh (Shimla Rural), and the constituency of Congress MLA Harish Janartha (Shimla Urban) constituted the SMC area.

The implementation of the Old Pension Scheme (OPS) was a major factor in favour of the Congress as the SMC has the highest number of government employees.

Earlier, the counting of votes for 34 wards of the SMC commenced at 10 am and it was done in five phases on eight tables under tight security.

About 59 per cent polling was recorded in the SMC elections which was 1.2 per cent more than the 2017 SMC polls. The polls were held on party symbols. A total of 55,385 voters comprising 29,504 males and 25,881 females exercised their franchise out of the total 93,920 people on electoral rolls on May 2. The number further increased to 55,662 after the inclusion of 277 postal ballots, Deputy Commissioner Negi told PTI.

Meanwhile, BJP candidate Kiran Baba from Boileauganj ward alleged tampering with EVM and said that she would move the court.

Himachal Congress chief Pratibha Singh expressed her gratitude to the voters for the resounding victory of the Congress in the SMC polls and thanked party workers for toiling hard to achieve this feat.

The impressive performance of the Congress in SMC polls is the beginning of victory for the party ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, she added.

There was a festival-like atmosphere outside the counting centre and Congress office here. Enthusiastic supporters of winning candidates burst into celebration and welcomed the winners with beating of dhols and nagaras and distributed sweets with the announcement of results.

The civic body’s five-year term ended in June 2022 but the elections were delayed by 11 months.

Source: Press Trust of India

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