People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 22

June 03, 2012



CPI(M) Wins  Shimla Mayoral Polls


THE people of Shimla have created political history by electing CPI(M) candidates Sanjay Chauhan as mayor and Tikender Panwar as deputy mayor. Out of the total 79,970 votes, 51,115 votes (64.84 per cent) were polled. In most of the wards, both the CPI(M) mayor and deputy mayor candidates polled more votes than the combined votes of the BJP and the Congress. Sanjay Chauhan trounced his nearest rival, the BJP candidate, by a margin 7868 votes. Out of 51,115 votes polled, Sanjay Chauhan secured 22,281 votes (42.85 per cent), against the 14,035 votes (27.45 per cent) polled Dr S S Minnhas of BJP and 13,278 (25.97 per cent) votes by Ms Madhu Sood of Congress. The margin of victory is so huge that it counts for 16 per cent of the votes polled. Madhu Sood was the incumbent mayor of Shimla Municipal Corporation (SMC), elected in 2007 in indirect election mode. Tikender Panwar of CPI(M) polled 21,196 votes (41.42 per cent) against 16,418 (32.11 per cent) polled by Digvijay Singh of BJP and 13,205 (25.83 per cent) polled by Devinder Chauhan of Congress.

The CPI (M) besides winning the two mayoral posts also won three councillor seats out of the 25 councillor posts. The BJP has won 12 councillor seats while the Congress won 10.


The SMC was led by Congress since 1986. All these years, elections to the top two posts were held via indirect mode, whereby the ward councillors were directly elected and they in turn would elect the mayor and deputy mayor. It is for the first time now that direct elections were held for the post of mayor and deputy mayor along with ward councillors since the inception of SMC in the nineteenth century. The CPI(M) campaigned against the policies formulated and implemented by the Congress-led SMC. At the same time, the thrust of the campaign was on the neo-liberal policies pursued by the both BJP-led state government and the Congress-led UPA-II government at the centre. The focus of CPI(M) campaign has been that since the SMC was led by the Congress all these  years, the major responsibility for the state of affairs of infrastructure and services provided by the corporation lies with that party. On the other hand, BJP was in power for three terms since the first SMC election and it has never supported the SMC. Rather, the present Dhumal-led BJP government did its best to paralyse the SMC by withholding funds and forcing privatisation of public services. The apathy of both these parties to the developmental needs of Shimla is akin to their proximity on the ideological position on the far wider and bigger issue of neo-liberalisation and issues affecting mass of people. Both these parties support the policies that led to the spiralling price rise, fast increasing unemployment, poor infrastructure, unbridled corruption and privatisation of health, education, water services and shrinking social security. Neo-liberal policies have adversely affected the access of common people to education and health services.


Further, Shimla city has pan-Indian character and has become ‘mini India’. It is the engine of socio-economic transformation of Himachal Pradesh. However, over the years tremendous pressure, on many counts, has been put on the city’s resources and existing infrastructure. Both state and the central governments, being stakeholders in the development of Shimla, are solely responsible for the present state of affairs of developmental activities, the public utilities and services in Shimla. The CPI(M) campaigned that the SMC will be made people-friendly and public services will be delivered in a defined time frame. Further, funds for the development will be sought from the main stakeholders and the people of Shimla will not be burdened for resources mobilisation.


Rakesh Singha, secretary of the Himachal Pradesh state committee of the CPI(M) in a statement issued on May 28, 2012 observed that these elections have a strong political message. ‘The Congress and BJP were badly routed in these elections. If people have a credible political alternative before them, both BJP and Congress can be defeated and politically isolated. And that is the big message of these elections. Further, the democratic processes and institutions are under constant threat from both the Congress and the BJP. It was vividly clear from these elections as chief minister Dhumal and his team of ministers, accompanied by BJP MLAs and MPs, put in all their efforts to intimidate the voters and violated the model code of conduct on many counts. The saffron brigade made all efforts to lure the voters by offering money and liquor. The Congress was not far behind in its nefarious designs to influence the voters by unfair means. Thus, the CPI(M)'s victory is a reflection of the electorate's growing maturity’, he noted. The state committee of the Party also felt that the election results will have serious ramifications on the state assembly elections, just a few months away. The SMC has historical links. Apart from being a popular international tourist destination, Shimla was also the British summer capital and many other activities of the British Empire were run from here. In the recent history of India, apart from the Left parties’ bastions in East and South India, no municipal corporation was won by the Left parties ever before, it noted.