Shimla, April 10- Women May Outshine Men in Shimla MC Polls
Women candidates may outperform their male counterparts in the upcoming Shimla MC polls, as the election sees an increase in female candidates. There is disagreement within both parties over the sudden change in the roster, as many aspiring candidates are now unlikely to be able to run due to unreserved wards becoming reserved. The likelihood of a woman candidate being selected in the reserved wards is higher due to the greater public exposure of female candidates.
In the last election, the unreserved wards of Ruldubhatta, Kaithu, Tutu, Majyath, Kachchighati, Tutikandi, Rambazar, Lower Bazar, Sanjauli Chowk, Lower Dhali, Malyana, Pantaghati, Kasumpti, and New Shimla were reserved for women. However, many male candidates who had been preparing and aspiring to run for years according to the previous roster were disappointed with the change.
The BJP has challenged the decrease in the number of wards from 41 to 34 in the Himachal Pradesh High Court. However, the court did not stay the election process, and the verdict is still pending.
Both the BJP, Congress, and CPI(M) are now searching for new faces in the newly reserved wards. Compared to the 17 reserved wards for women, the number of female candidates may be 25 to 26, which would be two-thirds of the total councilors.
Kamal Soni, a voter in the Kathu ward, says that the SMC election is, by default, dominated by women. Nandi Ram Thakur, an elector in the Totu ward, told us that this election is a combat between women only. Mast Ram Sharma of the Majyat ward said that the Congress announced the election, but they did not realize that following the new rules and adopting the composition of new wards would make it a woman-centric election.
Despite Shimla not having more women voters than men, the 50% reservation for women in urban local bodies and Panchayat Raj Institutions presents a different electoral picture in the state capital.
Moreover, even as their wards were declared open, sitting woman counsellors of both the parties may be fight for second term as being potential and sitting counsellor they could defeat open new candidate.
In the previous MC election, the BJP won the mayoral post in 2017 after wrestling the MC from the CPI(M) in an indirect poll. However, it now seems that the fight will likely be between the Congress and BJP this time. The Congress has declared Education Minister Rohit Thakur and former BJP Minister Sukh Ram Chaudhary as campaign committee in-charge for the Shimla MC poll.
There will be 149 polling stations in the election, and polling will be held on May 2, with the counting of votes and results declared on May 4.