The Himachal Pradesh urban development ministry will move a proposal to amend the rules for holding the elections for the four MCs. (HT file photo)
The Himachal Pradesh urban development ministry will move a proposal to amend the rules for holding the elections for the four MCs. (HT file photo)

MC elections to be held on party symbol in Himachal

Proposal to amend rules for municipal corporation elections in Mandi, Palampur, Solan and Dhramshala next month
PUBLISHED ON FEB 22, 2021 03:16 PM IST

Amid growing demand, the Jai Ram Thakur-led BJP government in Himachal Pradesh will hold the municipal corporation elections in Mandi, Palampur, Solan and Dharamshala next month on party symbols.

The state urban development ministry will move a proposal to amend the rules for the corporation elections. “We will move the proposal and now it depends on the parties,” state urban development minister Suresh Bhardwaj, who also holds the law portfolio, said.

The government’s proposal to hold elections on party symbols comes a fortnight after the elections to panchayats, zila parishads, and block samitis. Though these elections were not held on the party symbol, the ruling BJP claimed victory as candidates it supported won, while Congress-backed nominees could get a majority in only two zila parishads of Shimla and Kullu.

The opposition Congress accused the ruling party of misusing official machinery during the elections and charged it with horse trading after the zila parishad poll.

The BJP top leadership, including JP Nadda, met office-bearers in Dharamshala during a three-day conclave to ponder over the strategy for the municipal corporation and 2022 assembly elections. A majority of attendees were for fighting the MC elections on the party symbol.

Move will curb horse trading: Former Shimla mayor

Former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal had experimented with holding MC elections in Shimla on the party symbol in 2012. The posts of mayor and deputy mayor were held on the party symbol. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) captured both posts with Sanjay Chauhan getting elected as the mayor and Tikender Panwar as his deputy.

“We have always favoured elections to the MC on the party symbol. In Kerala too, the civic body elections are held on the party symbol,” says Chauhan. “ At least this will help curb horse trading after the elections,” he said.

Kimi Sood, the councillor from ward number 17, who represents Bemore in Shimla, says she too favoured elections on the party symbol. “The councillors are associated with ideologies. These elections should certainly be held on party lines; it will rather strengthen them,” she said.

MC elections to be announced during assembly session

Congress leaders have been demanding direct elections for the posts of mayor and deputy mayor. “The government should bring amendments that enable direct elections to the posts of mayor and deputy mayor. Direct elections will stop horse trading. It will also permit the elected heads to work for the welfare without any undue pressure about their tenure,” says Gokul Butail, the AICC national joint secretary.

The elections to the four municipal corporation is likely to be announced during the budget session of the Himachal Pradesh assembly that begins on February 26. The state election commission is already preparing the electoral rolls.

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