After early trends in the Delhi civic body vote-count showed a tight race, the AAP said government employees, whose postal ballots were counted in the first hour, could have voted for the BJP “in fear”. The BJP called the charge “just an alibi”.
“Government employees are afraid what might happen if the authorities open their postal ballots before the count and find out whom they voted for,” said senior AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj, “So, the early trend after the postal ballot count is usually in favour of the government (BJP ruling in MCD and at Centre). When the EVMs are opened, you will see a decisive shift.”
He added, “We are still confident of crossing at least 180 (in a House of 250) as the people of Delhi want to remove the BJP from the MCD. They were ready in April, but then the government postponed the election. But the people have made up their mind.”
BJP spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla, when asked about the “fear” charge, said, “I don’t want to get into such nitpicking and alibi-making. The moment they start losing, they start blaming the electoral process.”
He said the BJP looks to have retained its vote share even after 15 years of continuous rule in the MCD. “We will wait. Whatever the verdict, we will accept with full humility.”
The AAP, meanwhile, went into a huddle at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s home this morning after the early trends. His deputy, Manish Sisodia, and senior leader Raghav Chadha were there.
Balloons and celebratory posters, however, were ready at the AAP office in Delhi amid swinging trends as counting progressed.
Posters at the AAP head office in Delhi showed Arvind Kejriwal smiling, his hands folded in gratitude, and a Hindi slogan on it saying: “Kejriwal in the MCD too”.
These are the first civic elections after the MCD — divided into three, area-wise, around 10 years ago — was reunified and the wards redrawn. The latest term of the BJP ended early this year. Over 1,300 candidates are in the contest.