Cong makes open welcome offer to rebel winners



Shimla (Jan 4): Congress today claimed that it has won 23 chairman and 24 vice-chairman posts in the urban local bodies elections held in the state yesterday, boasting of 7 per cent increase in its vote percentage.

Claiming victory in civic polls, Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee president Kaul Singh Thakur claimed that the party won more than 52 per cent seats in the wards with 23 chairmen and 24 vice-chairman in the 48 urban local bodies (25 municipal and 23 nagar council).

He said that the party has already got 65-70 per cent seats in gram panchayat polls despite “large-scale misuse of official machinery by ruling BJP”. He alleged that number of Congress candidates were forced to keep out of election process by unlawfully rejecting their nominations, which would be challenged in the court.

He accepted that a number of Congress candidates who were denied tickets by the party, have been elected in many nagar panchayat as independent candidates. Taking soft stand toward the victorious rebel party candidates, Thakur said that if such chairman, vice-chairman and ward members would like to join the party fold they would be welcome irrespective of their stand during pre-polling.

Replying to a query, Thakur said that the party would also consider re-entry of rebel losers, after considering it on merits and demerits. He said that rebel chairman candidate Anita Thakur, who has been elected from Chamba municipal council, would be welcome to rejoin Congress if she wishes.

Thakur said that the party made clean sweep in Solan, Kangra, and Shimla, while it won all NPs except Hamirpur. He said that mandate for the people clearly indicates that people were against the sale of state land to land mafia, which was in full swing during the current regime.

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