7 in fray for mayors election
Shimla: Being fought on party symbols, the city is all set to witness a fierce tri-angular contest for the civic poll here as an ignited BJP and Communist Party of India (Marxists) set out to dislodge incumbent Congress, a party that has been at the helm for 25 years.
With close of withdrawals on Friday, there are 7 candidates in the fray for the mayor’s post and 5 for the deputy mayors post,” said Manesh Garg, the electoral officer incharge of conducting the municipal poll.
On the last day of withdrawal, three candidates for the mayor’s post and one for the deputy mayor post pulled out from the electoral contest. For the 25 wards the city has, there are 83 candidates in the fray.
While Congress has fielding Madhu Sood for a second term as Mayor, BJP has roped in a surgeon SS Minhas – a green horn to politics, and CPI (M) has thrown its lot behind Sanjay Chauhan, an old hand who has contested the city assembly seat election earlier.
For the deputy mayor post, the contest is between Congress candidate Devinder Chauhan, the BJP candidate Digvijay Chauhan and the CPI(M) candidate Tikinder Panwar
Since elections were started for the municipality in 1986 and irrespective of the party in government, Shimla municipality has been a Congress bastion and is on the firing line of BJP and CPI (M) for the decline the city has gone through over the years.
Besides indicating mood of the voter, the election is bringing into sharp focus the declining civic amenities and urban infrastructure in what is perhaps the oldest municipality of the countries and in its heydays provided the best of services.
Drawing attention to problems plaguing the city, Rajiv Verma, an architect town planner and a BJP supporter says, “for over 30 years the city did not have a comprehensive development plan, with more vehicles that the city roads can accommodate the populace has to suffer long traffic jams and acute parking shortages, a bad public transport system, deficient water supply, not enough public toilets, unplanned growth and hardly any road left aside for walkers have hurt the quality of life here over the decades.”
Having been in the forefront, agitating on issues like high end colony coming up in a thickly forested areas of the city, commuters facing connectivity problem between old and new interstate bus stands, water issues and others; CPI (M) has been the most organized in entering the electoral fray as they had announced their candidates well in advance and jumped into electioneering while the others were still squabbling over tickets.
Incumbency has brought about a schism in Congress after Madhu was nominated as the party candidate for the top slot that the other two parties are hoping to exploit at the May 27 poll day.