FEARING ‘POACHING’ by the Congress, in a bid to regain control over the Shimla Municipal Corporation, the BJP Sunday took its elected 17 councillors and one Independent Rakesh Kumar to an undisclosed location .They are likely to be brought to Shimla only at the time of the election to the Mayor and Deputy Mayor posts.
In fact, a decision to ‘guard the flock’ was taken at the party office after former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and state BJP president Satpal Satti met the elected councillors.
They were asked to stay back at the party office till midnight and advised to return Sunday morning. The councillors were reassembled at the party office Sunday from there they were taken to a “secret place,” said a source.
In the elections results that were declared on Saturday, the BJP won 17 of 34 seats while an Independent, who fought against the officially backed candidate, had also reached the party office to extend his support to the BJP. Congress-backed councillors won in 12 wards.
There were a total of four Independents, three of whom later met Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh. One CPM councillor has not announced support to anyone yet.
BJP Shimla MLA Suresh Bhardwaj, who is also the party’s chief whip, alleged that there have been attempts from the Congress to contact some of the BJP-backed elected councillors. The ruling party was trying to build pressure on the families of some BJP councillors, he alleged. The BJP had some cause for concern from fears from at least two elected councillors.
What has added to the BJP’s apprehensions was some posts on social media by Vikramaditya Singh, the Chief Minister’s son and the Youth Congress president who termed the mandate in the corporation polls as “fractured”.
On numbers, if the Congress adds three Independents and CPM to raise its rally to 16 will still need to councillors to stake its claim for the Mayor’s post. This looks unlikely.
State BJP president Satpal Satti said the BJP had won the Shimla civic polls and it was a “historic victory.”
“We have the numbers and also the right to form the next corporation. The verdict is totally against the corrupt Congress regime and non-performing CPM. We have no worries.”
He claimed that in fact some Congress-backed councillors are inching to support the BJP knowing that the party was going to form the government after the next Assembly polls.
Yet, the party has taken some precautions till the elections to the post of Mayor and Deputy Mayor was held.
Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah congratulated the party’s workers and described the victory in the Shimla Municipal Corporation as historic and a reflection of people’s faith in development