Photo used for indicative purpose only. Source: Internet

Shimla MC polls 2023: Massive voter turnout indicates residents’ yearning for change?

Shimla, May 2

With heavy polling of around 59%, in the Shimla Municipal Corporation elections suggests a mood for change as the fate of 102 candidates is now sealed in EVM machines, to be counted on May 4. Even though the exact polling percentage will be known a little later, the preliminary assessment made by State and Central agencies rings a danger bell for the ruling party, the BJP.

In the 2017 Shimla MC poll, the total percentage of polling was 57.8%, and  the current is around 59%, despite inclement weather conditions. Pollsters believe it may indicate a green signal for ruling Congress.

There are direct contests in 10 wards and triangular contests in 16 seats. The BJP is trying to claim victory in retaining the Shimla MC, but it is already locked in tough fights on 26 wards where the party is likely to face stiff competition. The CPI(M) has field only four candidates, and AAP is not considered a significant third force.

The previous Shimla MC house had 17 councillors of BJP, 12 of Congress, one CPI(M), and four Independents, with BJP in power in 2017, where the Prime Minister had addressed a party rally on Ridge ground.

If we believe the figures of agencies, in this poll result, Congress is likely to touch 18 to 20 seats, BJP ten to 12, CPI(M) two, and AAP and Independents one to two each. Survey predicts a grim picture for the saffron party. BJP’s fight to recover lost ground in the mid of poll campaign for Shimla MC by shuffling party president, seems to be not fetching the desired result.

It is worthwhile to mention that BJP’s wrong choice of candidate and setting aside of delimitation from 41 wards to 34 may spell doom for the party. The BJP trying to delay the Shimla MC election and then challenging the cancellation of the delimitation of wards in Himachal Pradesh High Court, shows that there was a clear edge to Congress owing to being in power for the next five years in the state.

Also read: Former BJP councilor crosses over to support Congress in MC election

Notably, some of the BJP rebels are also in fray, like from Engine-ghar ward. Moreover deep friction among former MLA of party and the current BJP candidate from Shimla urban Sanjay Sood, also shows that the party could not consolidate the organization in the capital town.

Though, BJP campaigned extensively, trying to woo voters until the last minute by turning to them with aspirational appeals and aggressive canvassing.

On the other hand the Congress campaign, led by Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, Deputy Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri, party chief Pratibha Singh, and her son Vikramaditya Singh, displayed a united face despite having differences and factions.

Also, with Congress, being in power and with the employees and pensioners-dominated MC voters, it has a dominating edge in the state.

In the 12 wards of Shimla MC that fall in the Kasumpti Assembly Constituency, Congress seems to have an advantage, likely to gain in nine seats, while BJP is strong in the Urban Shimla Constituency, where it would get more than ten to 11 seats attributed to the core vote banks of the party.

In the Rural Shimla Assembly Constituency, Vikramaditya Singh led the party campaign again, and he is the Public Works Minister, and party workers are expected to support him. There are five to six wards where Congress may impact the voters and turnout may be in its favour.



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