Shimla, Feb 23
Resolving to consolidate vote bank, BJP ruled State government in a cabinet meeting decided to have MC polls on party symbols. For the purpose necessary amendments in Himachal Pradesh Municipal Corporation Act, 1994 and Himachal Pradesh Municipal Corporation Elections Rules, 2012 are done. These amendments would pave way for conduct of elections to Municipal Corporations on Party symbols, provide reservation for OBCs, provision of disqualification on grounds of defection, strengthen provisions of no-confidence motion etc, informed a spokesperson of the State government.
Perhaps one of the reason for the move could be that the ruling BJP government is trying to gauge vote share in the newly formed Municipal Corporations, state political analysts. MC polls are due this year in Mandi, Palampur, Hamipur and Solan. Whereas, Shimla and Dharamshala shall have polls in 2022.
Another likely reason, that in lack of polls without party symbol, rebellion have become a common practice, they added. Most such polls witness number of rebel candidates contesting against the party’s official candidate.
Most important; in lack of part symbols, there is no value of ‘Anti-defection law’. As candidates, even after winning have been witnessed easily switching sides. Most recent one is case of councilor in the state capital, which shifted from Congress to BJP, but retained position, taking advantage that polls were not held on party symbols.
“Broadly drawing pros from the government’s current move, firstly, horse-trading and intimidation of elected members will be reduced and the mandate will be both for the person and the party that is being represented. Secondly, there will be continuity in performance. It means that the person once elected will have a responsibility of performance in continuity even though she/he may opt-out from the next contest. There will be more onus on the elected representative,” stated Tikender Panwar, former Deputy Mayor of Shimla who won in a direct contest on his party symbol.
“Despite the fact that nearly 70 per cent of the elected zila parishad members in the state are not from the BJP, the ruling party still managed to win chairpersons in most of the districts, except Shimla where the three CPI (M) supported members chose to vote for the Congress, are allegations of the opposition after PRI polls. Perhaps, such allegation would find no room, when polls will be held on party symbols.
Pertinent to mention that the Former Dhumal government had taken an important decision whereby municipal councils and municipal corporations’ elections were carried on party symbols, however the same was later reverted, after Congress came to power under Virbhadra’s leadership.