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Monday, July 16, 2018

Shimla Civic Polls: Poaching fear prompts BJP to hide 18 councillors it supported

The councillors are likely to be brought to Shimla only at the time of the election of the mayor and deputy mayor.

Written by Ashwani Sharma | Shimla | Published: June 19, 2017 4:02:35 am
Shimla Civic Polls, BJP Councillors, Shimla News, Indian Express News Former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal with the newly elected BJP councillors in Shimla Saturday. (Express Photo by Pradeep Kumar)

A day after 17 BJP-backed candidates won in the Shimla Municipal Corporation polls, the party on Sunday took the newly-elected councillors to an undisclosed location to thwart alleged poaching attempts by Congress. Among the councillors taken to a secret location is Independent Rakesh Kumar. The councillors are likely to be brought to Shimla only at the time of the election of the mayor and deputy mayor.

According to sources, the decision to keep the councillors in hiding was taken after former CM Prem Kumar Dhumal and state BJP president Satpal Satti met them. In the election results declared on Saturday, BJP-backed candidates won 17 of the 34 seats. Candidates backed by the Congress, on the other hand, won 12 seats. Of the four Independent winners, three later met Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, while one — Rakesh Kumar — offered support to the BJP. The lone CPM-backed candidate is yet to announce support to any of the two camps.

The BJP MLA from Shimla, Suresh Bhardwaj, alleged that the Congress tried to contact some of the BJP-backed councillors. The BJP, sources said, was apprehensive about at least two councillors, whose family members are state government employees. Social media posts by the CM’s son and Youth Congress leader Vikramaditya Singh, claiming that they were in touch with several BJP-backed candidates, added to the BJP’s apprehensions, said sources. State BJP chief Satpal Satti said the BJP has clinched a historic victory in the civic polls.

“We have the numbers and also the right to form the next panel at the corporation. The verdict is against the corrupt Congress regime and the non-performing CPM. We have no worries”. He claimed that some Congress-backed councillors are inching to support the BJP as “they knew that the party was going to form the government after the next Assembly polls”.

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