Shimla MC Poll: Parties trying to woo electorate till last moments  

The Shimla Municipal Election campaign was affected by the inclement weather today and undergoing a silence period however, candidates and their supporting workers are still busy wooing the electorates till the last minutes of polling as the voting would be held tomorrow and the counting of votes would be done on May 4.

As the election campaign ended at 1700 hrs on Sunday the town political parties were trying to make contact with voters through mobile phones and through social media adopting all kinds of means to reach out to them to influence their voting pattern in favour of them. The Sanjouli Chowk is among high profile Shimla MC wards where the sitting Mayor of BJP Sataya Kandaul is in the fray against the Congress candidate Mamata Chandel. The direct one-to-one contest between the two is posing a major challenge to BJP not only in the Sanjouli Chowk wards but in the nine other wards where only two candidates of BJP and Congress are in a direct contest.

 In a dramatic development late last night, the son of a BJP candidate was booked by the police carrying four bottles of liquor in his vehicle on the dry day of the election. However, the BJP candidate refuted the allegations and lodged a case under the excise act against her son. Two clippings of alleged incidents and releasing of the BJP candidate’s son by the police are made viral on social media. The former mayor was seen wailing in the videos alleging that her son was put in trapped by the supporters of Congress candidates and bottles of liquor were forcefully put in his vehicle. Ms. Kandul stated that he was out of the home after 2030 hrs to drop his niece to a suburb when the incident happened. 

There are allegations and counter-allegations against each other and a purported video clipping showing the recovery of a bag from a black car in the Chalonti area along with police recovering the liquor. There are reports that the candidate’s son was thrashed by the Congress workers at the time of recovery of liquor from him and he was taken to police station Sanjouli for further investigation. 

The ruling BJP in Shimla MC is in a direct fight on 10 wards against the ruling state Congress party.  There are triangular contests on 16 wards and four corner contests in seven and six corners in one ward. The pollsters consider that BJP is likely to perform better in 24 wards where the contest is not bipolar and many candidates are in the fray. If there are a number of candidates in the fray mostly AAP, CPI(M), and Independent BJP is comfortable to give a fight to Congress however Congress has the edge in the direct contest being in power in the state.

After losing the recent assembly election BJP wants to retain the Shimla MC as it came into the power of Shimla MC first time since its establishment in 2017. BJP has to change the party president Suresh Kashyap in the mid of the Shimla MC poll by replacing him with former BJP chief Rajiv Bindal. Currently, BJP did not have any high-profile leaders in the Shimla district after the death of former Minister Narendra Bragta and the defeat of BJP minister Suresh Bhardwaj in assembly elections. BJP is trying to galvanize its party cadre and also relying on two of the CPIM candidates to win the election. BJP has put Shelly Sharma former CPI(M) candidate in the fray from Summerhill and Vishal Thapta former SFI leader from Engineghar wards of Sanjouli.

The Shimla MC poll for 34 wards was scheduled for tomorrow and counting of votes would be held on May 4. Including 54 women there are a total of 102 candidates 34 each from Congress and BJP, 21 from AAP,  4 on CPI(M), and 9 on the symbol of Independent. 

State Election Commissioner Anil Khachi said that 149 polling stations were constituted for holding the election and election parties departed for their destination this morning carrying EVMs with them.  A total of 16 wards are reserved for women and three for Schedule caste and tribe. For the Congress Party Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, Deputy Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri, Party President Pratibha Singh, Industry Minister Harshvardhan Chauhan, and Education Minister Rohit Thakur were star campaigners for Congress.
 Union Minister Anurag Thakur, Former Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, former minister Sukh Ram Chaudhary, party president Rajiv Bindal and former Minister Suresh Bhardwaj were star campaigners for BJP and Former CPI(M) MLA Rakesh Singh and former Mayor Sanjay Chauhan was canvassing for the party candidates. AAP has put candidates in the fray but no national leader was canvassed for the party and only candidates are fighting for them. 

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