With the state Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh scheduled to be held next year, the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) polls outcome has become a bone of contention between the ruling BJP and the principal Opposition Congress with both parties claiming victory in these polls ahead of the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) elections.

The PRIs elections are scheduled to be held on 17, 19 and 21 January in the state and the results will be declared on 22 January.

A day after ULBs polls results, both the Congress and BJP today claimed victory in over 70 per cent seats with the opposition party even claiming victory in Mandi, home district of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.

Addressing media in Shimla, CM Jai Ram Thakur claimed that the BJP had won in 40 out of 50 ULBs for which voting was held on Sunday and results were declared the same day.

“BJP has won majority in 22 of the 29 Municipal Councils and similarly, out of 21 Nagar Panchayats, BJP has won in 18,” he said.

Thakur further stated that out of the total 401 wards in ULBs, BJP candidates won in 221 wards while Congress secured win in only 140 wards and independent candidates secured win in 49 wards while 13 candidates were elected unopposed.

“Congress is claiming victory on more seats but the situation will become clear when these ULBs will elect Chairpersons and Vice-Chairpersons,” he added.

Thakur said though these elections were not held on party symbol but BJP had devised a mechanism and had declared a list of party affiliated candidates and on its basis, the party was claiming victory.

He thanked the people of the state for supporting the pro-people and development agenda of the government and also thanked them for coming out in huge numbers to vote in ULBs elections despite the threat of Covid pandemic.

On the other hand, state Congress chief Kuldeep Singh Rathore too claimed victory in ULBs polls and asked the BJP to release the list of party affiliated candidates.

“BJP’s claim of victory in ULBs elections is completely false and aimed at misleading the people of the state as Congress has won majority in ULBs of 6 districts of Shimla, Mandi, Kullu, Chamba, Kangra and Solan.

The people of the state have completely neglected the development narrative of the ruling party and despite the misuse of government machinery in polls, Congress party has won over 70 percent seats in ULBs elections,” he added.

Rathore further stated that the BJP government had made deliberate changes in PRIs election roster to gain mileage in polls but despite this, they had suffered a massive defeat.

“Now the BJP leaders and ministers are luring independent as well Congress supported candidates but the party won’t let them succeed in their plans and is keeping a close watch on the situation,” he said.

He added ULBs polls results were a sign of things to come in future as Congress party’s victory march had started and it will culminate with party’s win in 2022 assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh.