Himachal civic polls: Cong gets majority in Palampur, Solan; BJP in Mandi

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Shimla, Apr 7 (PTI) The BJP and the Congress emerged as the single largest party in two each out of the four municipal corporations in Himachal Pradesh that went to polls on Wednesday, an election official said.

The ruling BJP emerged as the single largest party in Mandi and Dharamshala, while the Congress succeeded in getting majority in Palampur and Solan, state electoral officer Sanjeev Chauhan said.

In what may be considered as a relief for Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, the BJP got a clear majority in his home district Mandi by securing its victory in 11 out of total 15 wards. The Congress got just four seats in Mandi. In Dharamshala, the BJP is short of one seat in clear majority, winning 8 out of total 17 wards, while Congress got five and independents four seats.

Most independent winners are reportedly BJP rebels and the ruling party is trying to get support of them to secure majority in Dharamshala. The elections have come as morale booster for the Congress as it got clear majority in Palampur and Solan.

In Palampur, the Congress won 11 out of total 15 wards, while BJP and the independents got just two seats each.

In a neck-and-neck fight in Solan, the Congress won nine out of total 17 wards and BJP got seven seats, whereas independent candidate won a seat.

Earlier, 65 polling was recorded in elections to the four municipal corporations in Himachal Pradesh. According to preliminary reports, polling of 65.30 per cent -- 92,578 votes -- was recorded in Dharamshala, Mandi, Solan and Palampur municipal bodies.

Mandi recorded the highest turnout of 69.20 per cent, followed by 68.8 per cent in Palampur, 62.7 per cent in Dharamshala and 61.60 per cent in Solan. Mandi, Solan and Palampur are the newly-created civic bodies and going to polls for the first time.

The first election to the Dharamshala Municipal Corporation was held in April 2016 and it was not conducted on party symbols.

The elections for the four civic bodies have been held on the party symbols this time. A total of 279 candidates tried their luck in 64 wards of the four municipal bodies. The Aam Aadmi Party also fielded its candidates in 43 wards, while the CPI(M) fielded only one candidate in a ward in Mandi.

Eighty candidates were in the fray for 17 wards of Dharamshala, followed by 75 candidates for 15 wards of Mandi, 64 candidates for 15 wards of Palampur and 60 candidates for Solan.

Elections were also held in six newly-created nagar panchayats -- Chirgaon and Nerwa in Shimla district, Ani and Nirmand in Kullu district, Kandaghat in Solan and Amb in Una districts. PTI DJI CORR HMB