One of the oldest municipal bodies in the country will go to polls on May 27,to elect besides a mayor and deputy mayor,a 25-member Municipal Council. The Himachal Election Commission on Friday issued a formal notification announcing a detailed election schedule for the Shimla Municipal Corporation polls and declared that the model code of conduct would immediately come into force from Friday.
Hours before the poll notification,however,the state government on Thursday night posted Munish Garg,Secretary (Finance) as the Deputy Commissioner of Shimla in place of Onkar Sharma,who is set to leave for six weeks of training.
With elections to the state assembly slated for the end of the year,the stakes have been raised for the municipal body polls. The ruling BJP is not taking any risk while a divided Congress is working hard to put its house in order and protect its traditional bastion in the state capital.
The Shimla Corporation has traditionally been dominated by the Congress and is currently headed by the partys Madhu Sood but even with 50 per cent of the seats being reserved for women,Sood has opted out of the race even before her party has finalised its candidates.
The party has invited applications from aspirants for the post of mayor,deputy mayor and councillors along with a fixed fee of Rs 5,000,Rs 3,000 and Rs 1,500 respectively. A meeting of the partys screening committee will be held on May 2 to finalise the names, said the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) general secretary Kuldeep Rathore.
BJP state president Satpal Satti,when contacted at Una,said he was reaching Shimla on April 29 and has convened a meeting on April 30 to finalise candidates for the mayor and other posts. Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and other party seniors will also be present. Local MLA Suresh Bhardwaj has been asked to suggest winnable names for the polls. We want an energetic person with clean image to head the Corporation this time as it is first time when direct elections are being held for the mayor and deputy mayors posts,he said.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist ) has,however,stolen a march over the BJP and Congress by naming Sanjay Chauhan and Tikender Singh Panwar as candidates for mayor and deputy mayor posts respectively. The model code of conduct for the election will be limited to the territorial jurisdiction of the Shimla Municipal Corporation and will be in effect till May 30,2012.