The Shimla Municipal Corporation, one of India’s oldest civic bodies, goes to the polls on Sunday, with the mayor and the deputy mayor to get elected directly by voters for the first time.

For BJP, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and his cabinet ministers have campaigned for its candidates, whereas Congress leaders and central ministers Virbhadra Singh and Anand Sharma have asked votes for party candidates. MC election can also tout as a rehearsal before assembly poll that are due in late this year. The stakes are high for both parties as the winner will have a psychological advantage ahead of the coming assembly poll. About 87,000 people will be vote to pick 25 councilors, including the mayor and the deputy mayor.

BJP’s prestige is at stake as party sees the election as an opportunity to wrest the Congress-held Corporation. Party has tried every possible opportunity to wrench the MC Shimla from Congress after 25 years of unchallenged reign. Chief Minister seems confident this time as saying that party is going to create history this time by winning the civic elections. He added that good governance (in the state) and the development plan will help party to win.

On the other side, Congress is confident to retain MC Shimla and hoping to win majority in house. Mayor Madhu Sood is working hard among other party workers to retain the seat.

However, CPM, which has in recent years expanded its support base in Shimla, can’t be rule out. Their candidates Sanjay Chauhan and Tikender Singh Ponwar are well known face in Shimla politics and have enjoyed support of people of Shimla on various issues.

Bahra University

At present, the Congress has 15 councillors, the BJP eight and the CPI-M two. This is a first time when voters directly elect Mayor and Deputy Mayor.