Candidates supported by the BJP are leading in the 34-member house of the Shimla Municipal Corporation by winning six of the 13 declared seats in the first two-and-a-half hours of vote count on Saturday, officials said. The Congress-supported candidates have been trailing closely by winning four seats. Two seats were won by independents, while one by the CPI-M. Nearly 58 per cent of over 91,000 electors exercised their franchise in the voting held on Friday. Tibetans in exile also exercised their franchise in the elections to the oldest municipal corporation in the country after Chennai and Kolkata.
The main contest is between the ruling Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party, which is trying to get at the helm for the first time. However, the candidates did not contest on party symbols. The BJP has supported 34 candidates, the Congress 27 and the CPI-M 22 candidates. The Communists are supporting six independents. The Shimla civic body had been ruled by the Congress for 26 years in a row till the last elections. In 2012, the CPI-M won the Mayor and Deputy Mayor posts as also election for one councillor’s seat. It thus ruled the Shimla Municipal Corporation with only three members in the 25-seat house — the majority of the councillors were from the BJP.