Voting is set to begin at 8 am for the crucial Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) polls with the BJP, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), and the Congress locked in an intense battle to stake control of the civic body in the national capital that has an estimated budget of ₹15,000 crore. It will be a keenly watched contest as the BJP has been at the helm for nearly 15 years but exit polls (which often turn out to be wrong) predict a win for Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP.
About seven million – of 1.4 crore eligible voters – exercised their franchise on Sunday as the city registered a voting turnout of 50 per cent. On Wednesday, across the national capital officials will tally 56,000 voting machines and over 10,000 police personnel have been deployed as part of intense security arrangements, HT had reported earlier. A total of 1,349 candidates are in the fray and 42 counting centres have been set up where the votes shall be counted.
Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday responded to the exit polls, saying that Delhi had reposed its faith in the AAP. “I hope the results will be the same,” he added, thanking people of the city.
Among the top election issues were garbage management, landfill sites, drainage issues. Air pollution – which has become a recurring problem for the city every year as the winter sets – has also figured in the high-pitched election speeches.
In the months before the much-anticipated polls, Delhi did not miss controversies. From the BJP’s allegations of corruption against the AAP to Arvind Kejriwal’s party alleging ‘Operation Lotus’ by the rival, an attempt to topple the government, the poll temperatures were raised with attacks and counter-attacks.
Excise policy case – where Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has been named as an accused – and the videos of jailed Delhi minister Satyendar Jain from Tihar also triggered a political storm.