Chandigarh: The SAD-BJP alliance may have swept the civic polls, but it is the Independents who performed exceptionally well in these elections, cornering about 20 and 30 per cent of total seats in six municipal corporations and 122 municipal councils and nagar panchayats respectively.
Independents, among whom were some of the rebels of SAD, BJP and Congress parties, won whopping 624 wards out of 2,037 wards in 122 municipal councils and nagar panchayats which went to polls on February 26, as per election results.
Out of 2,037 wards, SAD won in 813 wards while its ally BJP won 348 wards and Congress managed to register victory in just 235 wards.
In Municipal Corporation (MC) polls, Independents also fared well as they wrested control over 64 wards out of the total 301 wards in the contest.
SAD in MC polls won 82 wards while BJP emerged victorious in 85 wards. However, the Congress party which was looking to strengthen its position in these polls, won 68 wards.
The polling to six MCs - Pathankot, Hoshiarpur, Phagwara, Moga, Mohali and Bathinda and by-election to two wards of Patiala and one ward of Jalandhar was held on February 22.
The victory of Independents was so convincing in some the Municipal Councils and Nagar Panchayats that their number of wards were far ahead than by either SAD-BJP combine or Congress.
The wards in which Independents marked their strong presence include Nurmehal, Phillaur, Alwarpur, Garshankar, Rahon, Raikot, Morinda, Dhanula among others, as per results.
Though Independents gave tough fight to major political parties at most of the wards in six municipal corporation polls, but it was in Mohali MC polls where Independents, mostly Akali rebels, cast a shadow on the comprehensive victory of SAD-BJP combine.
Out of 13 Independents who won in Mohali MC, eleven winners owe allegiance to former SAD leader and realty baron Kulwant Singh.
After SAD did not give ticket to Singh, he broke away from the party and formed a group of Independents. Singh had unsuccessfully contested Lok Sabha polls 2014 from Fatehgarh Sahib on SAD ticket last year.
SAD-BJP would now require support of four other members to gain control over 50 wards of Mohali MC. SAD-BJP and Congress won 22 and 14 wards respectively from Mohali MC.
The "rise" of Independents in the local body polls has even set the alarm bell ringing among political parties.
Reacting to Independents registering victory in civic polls, Congress leader Amarinder Singh yesterday said, "the way a large number of independent candidates won in these elections is a clear signal that the Congress cannot afford any complacency in the hope that it can ride to power merely on anti-incumbency against the ruling alliance, but needs to work much harder from right now only."
Congress is already facing bitter infighting over leadership issue which was one of the reasons of its "poor" performance in 122 municipal council and nagar panchayats polls.