The national capital will elect its municipal councillors tomorrow, in a triangular high- octane contest, the political ramifications of which will go much beyond the city’s borders. The campaigning involving the three main players — AAP, BJP and the Congress — was intense, marked by rancour, and the verdict will reshape the political equations in the country’s power capital.
It will determine whether the sway of Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP – which had stunned all by bagging 67 seats in the 2015 assembly polls – still holds and if the Rajouri Garden defeat was due to hostile constituency dynamics. For the BJP, holding on to power fighting a decade-long anti-incumbency is a challenge and an opportunity to blunt Kejriwal’s attempts to emerge as the principal adversary of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Congress, which has considerably increased its vote share in polls held after 2015 where it was reduced to zero, is hoping to gain its lost ground and make its presence felt, despite unabated infighting. Addressing the booth-level workers, BJP chief Amit Shah had said a favourable verdict could be a stepping stone to victory in the next assembly election in the city.
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The run-up to the polls have also been dominated by allegations of tampered EVMs, made by Kejriwal, a charge rejected by the Election Commission. The Generation-1 electronic voting machines (EVMs) are to be used for the MCD elections, which the Commission has described as “foolproof”.
The State Election Commission is gearing up to carry out the electoral exercise that will be spread over 13,000 booths spanning 272 wards. Over 1.3 crore people are eligible to vote in the polls and of them more than 1.1 lakh are first-time voters.
Out of the 13,022 polling stations, police authorities have declared 3,284 as sensitive and 1,464 as hypersensitive.For the first time in MCD elections, None Of The Above (NOTA) option will be available.
The total number of electorate for the civic polls stands at 1,32,10,206 which include 73,15,915 men, 58,93,418 women and 793 voters in the other category. This would be the first civic poll after the latest delimitation which has redrawn the civic wards.
As per the new delimitation exercise, based on the 2011 Census, each ward now has an average of 60,000 people with an estimated 40,000 voters. Delhi has 70 Assembly seats and before the delimitation, every constituency had four wards, but, now it ranges from 3- 7. The erstwhile unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) was trifurcated in 2012 into North, South and East Municipal Corporations. While NDMC and SDMC have 104 wards each, EDMC has 64.