Shimla : Congress snatched Shimla Municipal Corporation from BJP on Thursday winning 24 of the 34 wards of the civic body in the vote count. The BJP could win nine seats, and the CPI(M) one in the election held on Tuesday.

After a gap of 16 years the Congress has recorded a clear victory in the prestigious civic body. The latest victory for the grand old party in the Himachal capital comes less than six months after it grabbed power in the state by unseating the BJP.

An elated Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu told the media that it is the biggest victory for the party as no political outfit had won such a landslide majority cornering two-third seats in the country’s oldest civic body. In the 2017 Shimla corporation polls, BJP had won 18 seats, Congress 12 and CPI (M) and independents two each.

Former mayor and BJP candidate Satya Kandol lost the election from Sanjouli chowk as Congress candidate Mamta Chandel emerged giant killed with a 196-vote margin. Out of the five municipal corporations in the state, the Congress now runs three. It controls the board in Solan and Palampur. The Congress in fact won a by-poll in Palampur during Thursday’s vote count.

The Shimla corporation election was scheduled to be held in June 2022 but it was postponed by the previous BJP government. The saffron party now dominates the civic bodies of Mandi and Dharmshala in Himachal Pradesh. Sukhu stated that he and state party president Pratibha Singh would select the new Mayor and Deputy Mayor in consultation with the winning councilors soon.

“The results in Shimla would have a bearing on results of the Karnataka Assembly polls,” Sukhu said. He said it was a big setback to the Narendra Modi-led BJP as the party’s National president J P Nadda hailed from Himachal. UNI ML SSP

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