A victory in Himachal Assembly poll foregone conclusion
By Amba Charan Vashishth
With a historic win in Shimla Municipal Corporation elections in June BJP has maintained its winning streak in Himachal Pradesh too. For the first time BJP has won majority and grabbed Mayor and Deputy Mayor’s posts 31 years after elections were held to the country’s oldest urban local body since the days of the British Empire when the city enjoyed the privilege of being the summer capital of both the then Government of India and the undivided Punjab.
For the past 26 years consecutively Congress had ruled Shimla MC and during the last five years it was CPM which controlled it as the party won both the mayor and deputy mayor’s posts which were then filled through direct election.
BJP won 17 (50 percent) of the seats and its toll rose to about 56 percent with one BJP rebel rejoining the party and one newly elected Congress councillor joining the party.
In another historical first BJP candidate Kusum Sadret, a Dalit, won the Mayor’s post getting 19 votes while Rakesh Kumar Sharma scored 20, with one Congress member cross-voting in favour of BJP.
It is also for the first time that more than 50 percent (18) winners are women out of which 10 belong to BJP, 7 to Congress and the lone CPM winner.
Congress Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, himself facing corruption charges in court, seems to have seen the writing on the wall and that is why he ordered postponement of the elections on the pretext of “revising the electoral rolls”. Former Chief Minister Prof. Prem Kumar Dhuamal had described the act as unconstitutional. The decision was challenged in the High Court which ordered the Virbhadra Government to order elections immediately.
The results are a great personal setback to CM Virbhadra Singh as he had personally campaigned in the elections cancelling his pre-scheduled engagements. Congress lost the Totu seat which falls in Singh’s assembly constituency. In the adjoining seat of Boileugunj BJP marked its win where CM’s son and HP Youth Congress President Virkramaditya Singh campaigned extensively.
On the BJP front, former CM P. K. Dhumal, Union Health Minister J. P. Nadda and State President Satpal Satti held the fort and campaigned extensively. It is also a welcome gift for Shri Mangal Pandey who assumed charge of Himachal BJP organisational matters over a month back. BJP youth wing was also very active. Hamirpur MP Anurag Thakur led the youth in the campaign.
The election results are being seen as a curtain raiser for the outcome of the state assembly elections which are just a few months away in October-November this year. BJP is bound to romp home to victory and form the next government with a thumping majority. The State capital of Shimla has sent a message loud and clear. The results have sent shocks of shivers down the ruling Congress.