SAD, BJP Sweep Civic Polls, Being Together Does The Trick

Independent candidates give a scare with majority in 29 of 122 councils; Cong wins 2

CHANDIGARH – The Shiromani Akali Dal made a clean sweep in the elections that were held for 122 municipal councils and nagar panchayats in Punjab on Wednesday, securing a majority on its own in 46 councils and in partnership with the BJP in 28 others. With the BJP winning seven councils on its own, the alliance partners were in majority in 81 towns.

The story of the day still remained the Independent candidates — most of who were either rebels of major parties or self-proclaimed supporters of the Aam Aadmi Party — who between them gained majority in 29 civic bodies. The Congress managed majority in a mere two towns.

Of the results declared for 2,037 wards by the Election Commission, the Akalis won 813, BJP 348, Congress 253 and Independent candidates 624.

The takeaway for the SAD and BJP — who have been making noises that suggest a likely breakup of the alliance ahead of the 2017 Assembly elections — was that it would be wiser for them to stick together. As the two got majority in 28 civic bodies only in alliance — and with the Aam Admi Party (AAP) breathing down the neck of the major political parties in the state — the civic elections were being seen as a test case for the various parties to gauge the public mood and forge alliances or strategies for 2017.

Some of the Independent candidates, though, belonged to one or the other of the three main parties, but had not contested on the party symbol.

Majha clearly emerged as the domain of the Akalis, while Independent contestants ruled in Doaba, where the BJP also saw some good results. Bathinda and Mansa went largely to the Akalis, though Independents won in Budhlada, Bareta and Sardulgarh.

During the day, the 122 municipal councils and nagar panchayats had witnessed a record polling of 78 per cent.

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