First-time councillor Kusum Sadret, backed by the BJP, was elected Tuesday as the new mayor of Shimla in Himachal Pradesh. This is the first time a BJP leader was elected as the mayor of the city after the saffron party won a majority of wards in the Shimla Municipal Corporation. The corporation was a Congress citadel for 31 years.
In the mayoral election, the BJP candidate got 19 votes while the Congress candidate received 13 votes and one vote was deemed invalid. CPI(M) councillor Shelly Sharma abstained in the election.
Rakesh Kumar, who won as an Independent candidate but is now in the BJP, was elected the deputy mayor after he got 20 votes. Congress’s Anand Kaushal got 13 votes.
In the corporation election, BJP-supported candidates won 17 wards followed by the Congress with 12 wards. Two elected Independents later joined the BJP taking the saffron party’s tally past the half-way mark in the 34-member civic body.
Victory in the Shimla corporation was a boost for the BJP ahead of the state assembly election later this year. Himachal Pradesh is currently ruled by the Congress which was targeted by the BJP over alleged corruption and lack of governance. The results were also a blow for the CPM, which had ruled the Corporation for five years after its surprise victory in the 2012 polls.