Shimla: Disillusionment with the Congress besides infighting in the party ranks are being widely blamed for the end of its 26 years of control over the Shimla Municipal Corporation.
“The Congress defeat has sent clear signals that the people of Shimla were fed up with the corporation’s mismanagement in handling civic affairs for all these years,” a senior official said.
These, he said, related to water shortage, lack of parking space, poor sanitation and lack of town beautification.
Congress leaders say its humiliating defeat a few months before the assembly elections will echo in the Congress Working Committee meeting in New Delhi next week.
In the May 27 Shimla Municipal Corporation polls, the Congress not only failed to secure a majority but also lost the mayor’s and the deputy mayor’s posts, elections to which were held directly for the first time.
The party lost the posts not to its rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) but to the Communist Party of India-Marxist.
After the debacle, there are calls to oust state Congress president Kaul Singh. Most losing candidates were supposedly close to Singh.
Many in the Congress are reportedly not happy with Singh’s performance and want a change in the leadership.
One legislator said senior party functionaries, including cabinet ministers Anand Sharma and Virbhadra Singh, have to bury their differences and jointly prepare for the assembly elections.
“Lack of coordination at the grassroots level and the egos of senior leaders have damaged the party the most,” he said.
Kaul Singh had said earlier: “I admit there must have been shortcomings on our part. But infighting to some extent cannot be ruled out.”
Elections to the Himachal Pradesh assembly are likely in October.