Himachal Pradesh CM Sukhu’s confidant Surender Chauhan elected Shimla Mayor
Shimla: Surinder Chauhan, a close confidant of Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu was elected unopposed as Mayor of Shimla on Monday.
Uma Kaushal, a senior councillor in the 34-member house, of which 21 are women, was elected to the post of Deputy Mayor without any contest.
But the entire election of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor was staged, managed and backed by the Chief Minister, who himself had been holding meetings with the newly elected councillors to evolve consensus after women had fought an intense battle for the post.
Amongst women, there was tough competition as to who should be named as Deputy Mayor even as chances of Chauhan becoming Mayor were very evident from the time of the Shimla Municipal Corporation election.
There were three strong contenders including Sushma Kuthiala and Simi Nanda besides Uma Kashaul.
Before the election, the Chief Minister had called all the newly elected councillors to his official residence and told them about the choice even as some of the councillors, particularly women, should be on the ground to get top posts in view of their highest strike rate.
PCC president Pratibha Singh and three cabinet ministers, Harshvardhan Chauhan, Rohit Thakur and Anirudh Singh beside Shimla MLA Harish Janartha were on the job to evolve consensus on the Deputy Mayor’s post after Sukhu told that Surinder Chauhan, a popular congress face in the town, will be the mayoral candidate.
Chauhan, the three-time councillor comes from Chotta Shimla, from where CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu had been a councillor twice.
Considering that he has won for the third time and is close to the CM, he was the frontrunner for the post.
Uma Kaushal is also a three-time councillor from Tutikandi ward, while her husband has been elected twice from the seat.
The mayoral election was marred by a scuffle between supporters of the councillors and media persons after the former allegedly hurled abusive words and manhandled media due to lack of space at Bachat Bhawan.
The Congress swept the municipal corporation polls, winning 24 out of 34 wards. The BJP could bag only nine seats, while the CPI (M) won one seat in the elections held on May 2. The results were declared on May 4.
Later in the day the Mayor also took charge at his office in the heritage town hall building while Deputy Mayor declined to take charge as there was no office for her in the Town Hall building.
The CPM leader and former Mayor Sanjay Chauhan has criticised the Congress for depriving her to sit in the town hall and informed that he will take up the issue with the Chief Minister.
The women activists in the town expressed disappointment in denying a woman a chance to be the Mayor because the Congress doesn’t have a single MLA in the state assembly for women. The lone woman MLA in the House is BJP leader Reena Kashyap.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu congratulated Surender Chauhan and Uma Kaushal for being elected as Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Shimla Municipal Corporation respectively.