New Delhi: In elections that rival parties have pegged as a report card of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s two-year-old Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi, the national capital will vote for three municipal corporations today. The BJP has dominated the Municipal Corporation of Delhi – split into three some years ago – for a decade. The crucial civic elections saw a high-octane campaign by the three main players, the BJP, AAP and Congress.
Here are the top 10 developments in this big story:
- Just days ahead of the civic polls, Mr Kejriwal suffered a big jolt when his AAP lost the Rajouri Garden assembly by-election. Two years ago, the Aam Aadmi Party had won the state election so dramatically that it lost just three out of Delhi’s 70 seats, all to the BJP.
- Like other recent elections, the BJP has handled the Delhi civic body polls with political precision, and is looking to return to power for a third consecutive term. The party paraded some of its biggest names, and carefully recruited power players from its rivals.
- So as seniors like Uma Bharti and Smriti Irani campaigned in the different precincts of the capital, former ministers like Arvinder Singh Lovely, formerly of the Congress, were organised in the BJP fold before the polls for the three municipal corporations.
- The Congress hopes to resurrect itself in Delhi after multiple washouts, but just before voting its Delhi chief Ajay Maken has been engulfed in a rebellion with leaders leaving the party almost every day. The party has in the last week lost prominent Delhi leaders like Arvinder Singh Lovely and Barkha Shukla Singh to the BJP.
- The campaign between these three players has been hard fought and bitter. On the last day of campaigning, Mr Kejriwal told Delhi’s voters, “If you vote for the BJP then you will be responsible if you have dengue in your family.” His comments were described as bizarre threats by his rivals.
- Mr Kejriwal has also accused the BJP and the Congress of disrupting electricity and water supply in Delhi to damage his party’s chances and appealed dramatically, “Your fight is with me, so do not harm the people of Delhi.”
- The run-up to the elections has also been dominated by allegations of tampered EVMs made by Mr 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 poll body has described as “foolproof”.
- Swaraj India – the new political party led by activists Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan – is making its electoral debut with the civic body elections.
- The Municipal Corporation of Delhi was trifurcated in 2012 into the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) and South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC). There are 272 wards in the three municipal corporations. NDMC and SMDC have 104 seats each, while the EDMC has 64. All three are currently ruled by the BJP.
- Over 1.3 crore people are eligible to vote in the polls and of them more than 1.1 lakh are first-time voters. This will be the first time that the voters will be able to use the “None of the Above” or NOTA option in the Delhi municipal elections. Votes will be counted on Wednesday, April 26.
With inputs from agencies
There are 272 wards in the three municipal corporations