The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has taken an early lead in 78 wards over the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which is leading in 42 wards in the initial trends that have emerged after an hour of counting of votes for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections that began on Wednesday.
Congress, which is not being seen as a major challenger in the MCD polls, is a distant third leading in 4 wards, and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) is leading in one seat, so far in the initial trends till 9 am, as per the latest official data by the Election Commission.
The counting of votes for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections began at 8 am on Wednesday as the ruling BJP hopes to retain its 15-year-long rule in the national capital's civic body while the Aam Aadmi Party looks to make its own 'double-engine' government in the city.
The high-decibel battle which was fought in the election campaign ahead of the polling on December 4, witnessed the claims and counter-claims by both parties (BJP, AAP) of winning the elections, however, it all boils down to December 7 when the outcome of the election would be revealed.
The polls for 250 wards in the national capital were held on December 4 with about 50 per cent voter turnout and a total of 1,349 candidates were in the fray. However, the low voter turnout may not be an indicator of pro-incumbency with the exit polls predicting the AAP win in the MCD polls.
Congress, which is mostly focussing on the success of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, was not predicted (in the exit polls) to be a prominent challenger in the recently conducted polling. The party is predicted to get only a handful of seats.
However, the high-stakes civic polls are largely seen as a three-way contest between the BJP, the AAP and the Congress.
For the counting, the Commission has set up 42 counting centres across the city. 68 Election Observers have already been deployed by the Commission under whose supervision the counting of votes shall be carried out by the Returning Officers in the presence of candidates or their representatives.
Further, the Commission has also deployed 136 engineers from Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) at these counting centres to attend to any technical issues regarding the EVMs which may arise during the counting of votes.
Special Media Rooms to facilitate viewing of live results on the Commission's web portal on the LED screens at these 42 counting centres.
These centres are under multi-layered security and entry of persons authorized by the Commission shall only be allowed by the security personnel deployed at these centres.
Delhi had witnessed highly charged campaigning by AAP and BJP which made top leaders, including Union ministers, chief ministers of BJP-ruled states and MPs hit the streets for door-to-door campaigning and meetings to garner public support.
The BJP, which has governed the civic body in Delhi since 2007, is looking to maintain its winning streak.
This was the first civic election after the fresh delimitation exercise. There were 272 wards in Delhi and three corporations - NDMC, SDMC, and EDMC in Delhi from 2012-2022 that later reunified into an MCD that had formally come into existence on May 22. (ANI)