Photo used for indicative purpose only. Source: Internet

Controversies and allegations rock Shimla MC poll as parties gear up for election day

Shimla, May 1

The Shimla Municipal Election campaign was affected by inclement weather today during the silence period, but candidates and their supporters are still busy trying to woo voters until the last minutes of polling as voting will be held tomorrow and vote counting will be done on May 4. Now political parties in the town are trying to make contact with voters through mobile phones and social media, adopting all means to reach out to them to influence their voting pattern. The Sanjouli Chowk is among the high-profile Shimla MC wards, where the sitting BJP Mayor Sataya Kandaul is in a direct one-to-one contest against Congress candidate Mamata Chandel. This contest poses a significant challenge to the BJP not only in the Sanjouli Chowk wards but in the nine other wards where only two candidates from the BJP and Congress are in direct contest.

In a dramatic development, the son of the BJP candidate was booked by the police for carrying four bottles of wine in his vehicle during the dry day of the election. However, the BJP candidate refuted the allegations and the lodging of the case under the excise act against her son. Two video clips of the alleged incident and the releasing of the BJP candidate’s son by the police have gone viral on social media. The former mayor was seen wailing in the videos, alleging that her son was trapped by the supporters of Congress candidates, and bottles of wine were forcefully put in his vehicle. Ms. Kaundul stated that he was out of home after 8:30 PM to drop his niece off in a suburb when the incident happened.

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

The ruling BJP in Shimla MC is in a direct fight on ten wards against the ruling state Congress party. There are triangular contests in 16 wards, four-cornered contests in seven, and six-cornered contests in one ward. 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 giving a fight to Congress; however, Congress has an 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 power in Shimla MC for the first time since its establishment in 2017. BJP had to change the party president Suresh Kashayap in the middle of the Shimla MC poll by replacing him with former BJP chief Rajiv Bindal. Currently, BJP does not have any high-profile leaders in 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 is also relying on two of the CPI(M) candidates to win the election. BJP has put Shelly Sharma, a former CPI(M) candidate, in the fray from Summerhill and Vishal Thapta, a former SFI leader, from Engine-ghar wards of Sanjouli.

The Shimla MC poll for 34 wards is scheduled for tomorrow, and the vote count will 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 from CPI(M).



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