PLAYING THE war of nerves to buy time after falling short of numbers in the Shimla Municipal Corporation elections, all newly elected councillors backed by the Congress, and the lone CPM-backed councillor, on Monday abstained from a meeting convened to elect the new mayor and deputy mayor. Earlier in the day, BJP received a shot in the arm with Independent councillor Sanjay Parmar switching over from the Congress camp. He joined the party in the presence of state BJP president Satpal Satti.
Parmar’s inclusion took the BJP camp’s tally in the civic body to 19 (17 BJP-backed members and two Independents supporting the party) against Congress’s 12, besides two Independents and one CPM-backed councillor
The Congress and CPM-backed councillors left the hall soon after the symbolic oath-taking ceremony in the afternoon, even as the BJP camp continued to insist for the election in accordance with the High Court’s order for completing the process by June 19. Director (Urban Development department) D K Gupta, who earlier in the day administered oath to all 34 new councillors, adjourned the meeting for lack of quorum.
Stating that the presence of at least two-third members (or 26 councillors) is mandatory to hold the first meeting, Gupta said the next meeting to elect the mayor and deputy mayor will take place on Tuesday morning. But quorum is not mandatory in subsequent meetings, he told the BJP-backed councillors.