New Delhi: The Delhi state election commission on Wednesday began counting of votes polled in the municipal corporations of Delhi (MCD). The election saw a high-pitched battle between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
The three bodies—North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) and East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC)—account for 272 seats. While NDMC and SDMC have 104 seats each, EDMC has 64 seats. Polling was held in 270 of the total seats on 23 April. Polling in two seats was cancelled due to the death of candidates.
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This election saw a voter turnout of 53.58%, a slight increase from the 2012 turnout of 53.43%. Approximately, 1.32 crore electors were eligible to vote in this election.
Other political parties including the newly launched Swaraj India led by Yogendra Yadav, Janata Dal (United), Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party also contested in this election.
As counting of votes proceeds in full swing, Mint takes a look at the possible scenarios:
The exit polls have predicted a victory for the BJP in the MCD elections. The party is looking to come to power for a third consecutive time. The three corporations are currently led by the BJP and the party has held a majority in the civic bodies since 2007. In the run-up to the election, the party banked on the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take its campaign forward. A win in the recent bypoll of Rajouri Garden in the state assembly has also boosted the morale of the party which lost the 2015 assembly polls, managing to win only three seats. To counter anti-incumbency, the party has fielded only new candidates this time.
The MCD polls are being seen as a litmus test for the AAP which came to power in 2015 after securing 67 of the 70 assembly seats. A win in the MCD for the party, which has contested municipal elections in all the seats for the first time, could help it fulfil some of the manifesto promises it made in 2015. A win would also help the party put behind the recent losses in the Punjab and Goa assembly elections along with the loss in the Rajouri Garden bypoll in Delhi where the party came third.
Delhi chief minister and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal, who has raised allegations of faulty electronic voting machines (EVMs), has warned of launching a “movement" if the MCD exit poll results come true.
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After repeated losses in the national capital since 2013, a win in the Delhi municipal elections could help the party win back its support base. It could also give a fillip to its chances of revival among the urban audience. The party did not get a single seat in the 2015 assembly elections. A win could also boost the morale of the party workers who managed to secure the second place in the Rajouri Garden bypoll.
PTI contributed to the story