Chief Minister, Ministers dive into SMC election campaigns

Shimla, June 13: Keen to ensure victory of Congress-backed candidates in the prestigious Shimla Municipal Corporation (SMC) polls, the top brass of the ruling party, including Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, ministers, MLAs and party functionaries, have plunged into the campaign.Virbhadra, accompanied by Excise and Taxation Minister Prakash Chaudhary, on Monday campaigned in two wards of Lower Bazaar and Ram Bazaar.

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“Shimla is an internation tourist destination and we must take all possible steps to ensure its glory,” said Virbhadra, while addressing people in Lower Bazaar. He urged people to support Congress-backed candidates as the party had taken all possible steps to solve the problems of the public and provide them facilities.

Virbhadra and state Congress president Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu will jointly address election meetings and campaign in favour of party candidates in New Shimla, Patyog and Kangnadhar wards tomorrow. Barring the one occasion in May 2012 when the Mayor and Deputy Mayor seats were won by CPM candidates in the first-ever indirect polls, the Congress has retained control over the MC.

The number of wards has been enhanced from 25 to 34 with a substantial increase in population.The Congress, which has retained its control over the SMC, is keen that this time too the BJP’s ambition of gaining control over the MC is not fulfilled. Sukhu assigned duties for campaigning to all Cabinet ministers in three wards each. Some of these ministers, including Thakur Singh Bharmouri, undertook door-to-door campaigning in the wards assigned to them.

Meanwhile, Congress rebel Ajay Chauhan, who was in the fray from the Kasumpti ward, retired from the contest, extending support to the Congress-backed Rakesh Chauhan. Even though the elections are not being fought on party symbols, the Congress had issued a list of 28 candidates whom the party would support in the MC polls.

Source Tribune India