Much to the relief of the ruling BJP,its lone rebel candidate for Mayors post Tarseen Bharti has decided to withdraw his nomination. However,Congress failed to ensure potential rebels retiring from the poll fray as the last date for withdrawal of nominations ended on Friday.
Bharti – who belongs to dalit community – made a surprise to Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal at his residence on Friday and announced his decision to support BJP candidates though he did raise certain demands with Dhumal including implementation of citizens charter and creation of new civic amenities in certain left-out wards.
After the last day of withdrawal of nominations,seven candidates were left in the fray for the Mayors post with S S Minhas,a former surgeon and head of department at Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC),incumbent Mayor Madhu Sood and leftist leader Sanjay Chauhan contesting as BJP,Congress and CPM candidates.
The Shimla Municipal Corporation elections are slated for May 27 and its outcome could set up a trend for political parties vying for power in the upcoming State Assembly polls.
Manoj Kumar,former Mayor of Shimla and Congress leader,gave a jolt to Congress as he has decided to contest. There are five names contesting for the Deputy Mayors post – including three from BJP,Congress and CPM. In addition,83 names – including independents – will be fighting for a councillor seat.
Minhas is a new experiment by Dhumal, a sitting BJP MLA said even as he admits the party cadres will take time to digest this bitter pill. The party has convened a meeting of MLAs and ministers on May 15 to set the agenda for the elections and assign duties to senior leaders. Ganesh Dutt,BJP spokesman,who himself had been a contender for Mayors post said A ward-wise campaign has already started. I covered some areas with Dr Minhas on Friday and other candidates in secretariat area and visited other offices. The campaign will be on full throttle after May 15.
PCC president Kaul Singh Thakur – who was in town and held meeting with local congress workers said that Madhu Sood was an unanimous candidate and holds the capacity to win the elections. Yet he admitted that the rebels – who had not retired from the contest – will be persuaded to support official candidates. He denied any secret deal with the CPM to ensure election of Madhu Sood.
The Communist Party of India Marxist,CPI (M),claims that the party is making a serious bid to ensure that neither Congress nor BJP get the posts. We are asking the citizens to vote for change. Citizens will see a real transformation and democratisation of the civic body, Rakesh Singha,CPM state secretary said.