Shimla: In 25 years, Congress suffered its worst setback in the Shimla Municipal polls for not only it lost the majority among councilors body, but also lost the post of Mayor and Deputy Mayor post to CPI (M) for which direct elections were held for the first time.
Congress which earlier had 15 councilors were down to winning on only 10 wards, CPI(M) which earlier held 2 seats had improved their score to winning 3 wards and BJP candidates were declared winner in 12 wards.
In a five cornered contest for the post of deputy mayor, CPI(M) candidate Tikender Panwar was declared winner.
Tikender trumped his nearest rival Digvijay Chauhan of BJP by a margin of 4778 votes. Tikender polled 21,196; Digvijay got 16,418 and in third place was Congress candidate Devinder Chauhan, who polled 13,205 votes.
The seven cornered contest for mayors post was won by Sanjay Chauhan of CPI(M), who beat his nearest rival SS Minhas of BJP by 7868 votes.
Whereas Chauhan got 21,903 votes, Minhas secured 14,035 votes and Madhu Sood of Congress was third with 13,278 votes.
Counting for the 25 wards, mayor and deputy mayors elections that was held on Sunday began early today. Since elections were started for the Shimla municipal corporation in 1986, the only municipality of Himachal has been a congress bastion.
The Sunday poll recorded a high turnout with as many as 64.8 percent voters turning up to cast their franchise on electronic voting machines. Of the total 79,956 registered voters, as many as 51,235 voted in the civic polls.
In all there were 95 candidates in the fray which included 7 for mayors post, 5 for deputy mayors post and 83 contested for councilors in the 25 wards.
Of the 25 wards, 13 were reserved for women candidates for which there were 43 contestants.
With the election to the civic body held a few months ahead of the general assembly elections, much importance was given the polls here that witnessed hectic campaigning.
In the triangular contest,the Congress campaign did see the participation of two union ministers Anand Sharma and Virbhadra Singh, whereas the BJP charge was led by chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and CPI(M) roped in its politburo member Sitaram Yechury to hold a public rally here.