Ahead of the assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh, the opposition BJP on Saturday created a record by winning the maximum number of seats - for the first time in three decades - in the 34-member house of the Shimla Municipal Corporation.
However, it still failed to get a simple majority of 18 members in a close contest. Its supported candidates won 17 seats. Its arch rival the Congress, which ruled the civic body for 26 years till the last elections in May 2012, got its 12 candidates elected.
We are going to elect our Mayor and Deputy Mayor with the support of an Independent.BJP leader to IANS
Four Independents and one CPI-M candidate got elected after the counting held here. Three independent candidates announced their support to the Congress. This means the Congress has the support of 15 candidates but it is short of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s 17 winners.
The fourth Independent winner Rajesh Kumar is a BJP rebel and he is likely to extend support to the party to help it get a simple majority.
BJP’s Semi-Final in Himachal Pradesh
This election was the BJP's semi-final ahead of the assembly elections in the state, Member of Parliament Anurag Thakur said.
The Shimla Municipal Corporation election was our semi-final that we have won. Now we are going to win the final - assembly polls - too.Anurag Thakur, MP, BJP
The stakes were high for six-time Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh in this elections as he was trying to prove he was still a mass leader and could lead the party in the forthcoming assembly polls also, while the BJP's two-time Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal was fighting a "survival battle".
Interestingly, the age-old issues of water shortage and spread of water-borne diseases were the prominent issues in the polls, besides shortage of parking lots, traffic jams and unscientific disposal of solid waste.