Scramble of independent candidates in almost all municipal councils of Ludhiana district has created a tough competition for the contestants fighting the polls on symbols of political parties, including BJP, SAD, and Congress among others.
Although several independent candidates are contesting in these councils with the backing of Congress, party that was shying away to allot its symbol to these candidates in wake of factionalism and weak position of the party at these councils, but most of the independent candidates are fighting on their own.
Where the council elections on Wednesday is a litmus test for SAD-BJP combine in Punjab, the independent candidates are likely to further give a tough competition to both parties. These independents would also challenge the consolidation of the vote banks in all councils of the district.
The political parties are also aware that the presence of independent candidates could hamper their votes due to presence of up to 8-10 independents in some of the wards of different councils that would hamper the flow of majority of votes for a single candidate.
On the one hand, warring factions within the parties is also likely to affect the prospect of their candidates. Councils where internal bickering is at its height, include Doraha, Khanna, Raikot.
Factionalism and internal rivalries of the local leaders are also likely to show an impact on the results.
On the other hand, SAD and BJP that had developed differences in recent past would also try to show a strong face to the rival Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) that is not in the fray in council elections, but is eyeing on assembly elections scheduled in 2017. The council elections would also be a show of power by SAD-BJP to AAP.
A whopping 83 independent candidates are contesting for 33 wards at Khanna municipal council where SAD and BJP are contesting on 16 and 17 wards, respectively. Congress at Khanna council is contesting on 30 seats, while BSP on only 4 seats.
At least 33 independents are contesting for 23 wards at Jagraon municipal council. Number of independents at Payal council is not less than 48 for only 11 wards.
Even the political parties are aware of the fact that the independents would cause a dent on their vote bank. BJP district president Praveen Bansal said there would be a major impact of independents contesting in different councils.
Bansal said consolidation of votes becomes difficult where there are only 1,000-1,500 votes in some wards.