With days to go for the municipal polls in Delhi, Union minister Vijay Goel today exuded confidence that the BJP will retain power with a resounding victory by bagging an “impressive tally of seats”. Asked to project the number of seats the party was expected to win, he said, “more than 200”. Goel also described the party’s decision to field only fresh faces as “bold”. “The AAP’s drubbing in the Rajouri Garden by-poll is a clear indication. We are going to put up an impressive show in the MCD polls as well,” The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs and Sports told PTI. The BJP has been ruling the MCD for the last 10 years. After the trifurcation of the MCD in 2012 into North, South and East Delhi Municipal Corporations (NDMC, SDMC and EDMC), the first election was held the same year, which was won by the saffron party.
The BJP currently has 153 sitting councillors, but this time, it has not fielded any of them and instead, preferred all fresh faces. The move has been described by the opposition parties, including the Congress and the AAP, as a “tactic to counter anti-incumbency”, while the BJP maintains that the decision is to “give chance to the new generation”. “The decision to field no sitting councillor is a bold one. This will bring in the new generation and new faces, who do not have cases against them, corruption-related or otherwise. “People have shown faith (in the BJP) in the Lok Sabha and the Uttar Pradesh (Assembly) elections. Recently, even in the Rajouri Garden by-poll, the electorate gave us the indication,” Goel said.
The MCD polls are due on April 23 and the campaigning of all the parties has hit the fever pitch before the dust settles in the rally grounds and the loudspeakers fall silent. Both the AAP and the Congress have cornered the BJP over “civic mismanagement” in the city, even as the saffron party has blunted the attack, alleging that Kejriwal has “no interest” in the affairs of Delhi and he is only interested in “expanding his party’s footprint” beyond the national capital. The AAP suffered a debacle in the Punjab, Goa and Uttarakhand polls recently, even as Kejriwal has said that those elections as well as the Rajouri Garden by-poll should not be seen as a “trailer of the MCD elections”.
Generation-1 electronic voting machines (EVMs) are to be used in the MCD polls, even though Kejriwal has requested to the Delhi State Election Commission to delay the elections, so that only VVPAT-equipped EVMs could be brought in. Delhi has 272 wards in total — NDMC (104), SDMC (104) and EDMC (64).