"Since people are fed up with the Congress and BJP as they are following neo-liberal economic policies, people are looking for a third alternative," CPI-M state secretariat member Kuldip Singh Tanwar said.
Tanwar told IANS that in the assembly elections only five months away, the Left may tie up with the Himachal Lokhit Party, a breakaway BJP outfit led by Maheshwar Singh.
The Communist Party of India-Marxist has scripted history by winning the top posts of the Shimla Municipal Corporation, one of the country's oldest civic bodies. It also won a third seat.
In the first ever direct elections for the two posts, CPI-M's Sanjay Chauhan was elected the mayor and Tikender Panwar the deputy mayor. Both defeated Bharatiya Janata Party rivals.
The Congress, which has controlled the Shimla Municipal Corporation for a long time, finished behind the BJP in the election, with a majority eluding everyone.
Elated, the CPI-M is eyeing to contest at least 20 of the 68 assembly seats on its own.
CPI-M leaders said anti-incumbency coupled with infighting in the Congress as well as apparent disillusionment with the state's ruling BJP had led people to choose Marxists as the mayor and deputy mayor.
Lok Sabha MP and suspended BJP leader Rajan Sushant said: "The corporation results clearly indicate that the electorate favours a third political force in the state."
Added Maheshwar Singh, a former MP and head of the Himachal Lokhit Party: "Both the BJP and Congress are ... corrupt. Now voters have formally acknowledged (the need for a) third alternative."
Himachal Pradesh is one of the fastest growing areas for the CPI-M's Students Federation of India (SFI). Besides the main university in Shimla, the SFI has spread its wings in prominent colleges in Hamirpur and Una.
CPI-M's Rakesh Singha was elected to the Lok Sabha from Shimla in 1993 but was unseated in 1995 after being convicted in a murder case.
"Shimla is going to be a trendsetter for future elections," a political observer said here. The voters of Shimla are highly literate, and many are government employees or in business.