February 18, 2021 4:58:37 am
In Punjab, Independent candidates sprung a surprise by taking the number two spot in the overall winners list in the local body polls. By winning 18 per cent of the total seats that went to polls in the region, Independent candidates in fact equal to the seats that all seats won by the opposition parties put together.
By Wednesday evening, results on total 2168 including 1,817 seats Municipal councils (MCs) and Nagar Panchayats (NPs) and 351 Corporation wards were declared out of which 1378 including 1,102 MC/NPs and 277 Corporation wards were won by the Congress which comes to nearly 63 per cent of the total seats, whereas Independents registered victory in 392 wards (18 per cent).
All opposition parties taken together have won 403 seats (around 18.5 per cent), including 285 by SAD, 60 by AAP, 49 by BJP. BJP, which is largely a party with urban base in Punjab, was in fact reduced to a pitiable fourth position among all parties in the fray. The BSP and Others won 5 and 4 seats, respectively.
Independents fared exceptionally well in around half dozen of districts. In four districts, they were even ahead of ruling Congress party’s candidates.
Mansa topped the list where Independents gained almost 2/3rd majority by winning 53 seats out of total 85 seats, the ruling Congress was left at a mere 22 seats here.
Jalandhar district was at number two where 59 (54 per cent) out 110 wards were won by Independents against 47 by the Congress party. Third district in the list of four Independent dominated districts was Barnala where Independents won 31 against Congress winning 28. In Nawanshahr, 18 Independents won against 16 of Congress.
Apart from this, the major victory of Independents was recorded in Ropar where 39 Independents were declared winners and in Sangrur, 31 Independents got elected.
In Bathinda, Hoshiarpur, Mohali, 29, 22 and 20 Independent candidates won.
In Rahon Municipal Council, there was landslide victory for Independents where they won all 13 seats and similar was the scene at in Jalandhar where Independents won on 12 seats out of 13 in Adampur and again 12 out of 13 in Nurmahal committees, while 10 out of 11 seats were won by Independents in Alawalpur.
In nine districts of the state, Independent candidates were far ahead of all the opposition parties and in half dozen districts they were either equal in seats or were quite close to the opposition parties in the seat tally.
Political leaders of various parties, including Congress, have been claiming that most of the Independents are backed by the majority political parties only. For instance in Rahon, where all Independents have won, it is said that seven were backed by Congress , 3 by BSP and two were Independent candidates with no party affiliation.
Most of the Independents have won in the Municipal Councils and Nagar Panchyats as only 18 Independents have won in eight Corporations where elections for 351 wards were conducted.
BSP state president Jasbir Singh Garhi claimed that though their party has won 5 seats in the state on its symbol, but nearly 25 BSP backed candidates have won mainly in Doaba region. He said that 100 candidates of BSP were contesting on party symbol and 100 as Independents backed by BSP.
“In this elections two BSP backed candidates won from Rahon, five from Alawalpur, 3 from Nurmahal, two from Nakodar, one each from Phillaur, Adampur, Sham Chaurasi, Khamano, Samana, Bhairupa, Tapa Mandi and Boha,” claimed the BSP state chief.
BJP too was had claimed that most of their candidates were contesting as Independents in Councils and NPs elections due to fear of protests by the farmers but it is yet not clear how many BJP-backed Independents have won on these seats.
It is learnt that in 2015 local body elections too, around 20% Independents had won in corporation elections and 30% in Municipal Councils and Nagar Panchyats elections.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines