Shimla, June 19: As a part of its strategy to foil ruling Congress’s desperate move of poaching on four independents and a “black sheep” to muster a simple majority, the BJP –backed councillors are likely to abstain from the oath ceremony, while the first session of new 34-member House of the Shimla Municipal Corporation convened to elect new Mayor and the Deputy Mayor will be held in the capital city tomorrow.
What has added to the high drama is the fact the BJP- backed elected councillors remained divided into the “Dhumal and Nadda factions”. Both leaders are chief ministerial candidates and are “claiming credit for bringing the BJP close to power in the Shimla Municipal Corporation for this time in its history”.
While the BJP is trying to script history to elect its Mayor and deputy Mayor, the Congress with support from the CPM and four independents is trying all it can to repeat history by electing the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of its choice even if it means resorting to “horse trading”. The Congress is trying to conduct the first session of the House by stage managing attendance of 18 councillors, the magic figure to elect the Mayor and Deputy Mayor.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and party president Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu today convened meeting of the 16 councilors (12 Congress, three independents and one CPM) here today and chalked out strategy for the first session of the SMC tomorrow.
On the other, Congress fire fighters have launched a manhunt to catch the most-sought after independent, Rakesh Sharma from Panthaghati ward, whom BJP claims, belongs to the party, though the BJP had expelled him from party as he fought and won against the party backed candidate.
He along with 17 party-backed councilors was paraded yesterday at BJP party headquarters and he shared dais with former Chief Minister PK Dhumal.
Meanwhile, the Congress is batting for an independent Scheduled Caste woman councilor, Rachan from Vikas Nagar, who claims to be Congress supporter. The BJP has just one SC woman councilor Kusum Sadret from Annandale ward. The Mayor post is reserved for SC woman candidate.
Interestingly, the BJP cannot control the SMC without the support of an Independent as it has 17 councilors. So is the case with the Congress, as it needs support of four independent, a CPM and one more councilor to arrive at the magic figure of 18 councilors.
BJP’s fire fighters have taken the party- backed councilors to unknown destination in their bid to sabotage Congress’s hunt to win one to two of them. “We will not come for oath-taking ceremony tomorrow. The first session of new House will not function for want of quorum to elect new Mayor or Deputy Mayor”, revealed a BJP-backed councilor without specifying his destination.
Source Tribune India