MCD Elections : Exit Polls Predict Sweep For BJP In Delhi

NEW DELHI:  Exit polls predicted an overwhelming victory for the BJP in the civic election of Delhi, giving them more than 200 of the 270 seats for which voting was held today. The overall turnout, at 54 per cent, was almost the same as the 2012 elections, when 53.9 per cent polling was recorded. The rival parties pegged the election as a report card of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's two-year-old Aam Aadmi Party government. The AAP and the Congress are hoping to wrest power from the BJP, which dominated the Municipal Corporation of Delhi for a decade. The BJP, in the hope of a third term, held a high-voltage campaign in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi had led senior party leaders and Union ministers including Amit Shah, Smriti Irani and Rajnath Singh in seeking votes.
Here are the top 10 developments in this big story:
  1. The average of two exit polls gave the BJP 216 seats, AAP 25 seats and the Congress 26 seats. The India Today-Axis exit poll predicted that the BJP may bag anything between 202 and 220 seats, while AAP and the Congress will score something around 23-35 and 19-31 seats. The CVoter-ABP exit poll claimed the BJP was likely to sweep Delhi with 218 seats, limiting the AAP and the Congress to 24 and 22 seats.
  2. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal alleged reports of EVM malfunctioning were coming from all over the Capital. "Reports from all over Delhi of EVM malfunction, people wid voter slips not allowed to vote. What is SEC doing?" he tweeted. Amid the allegations of EVM tampering by Mr Kejriwal in the run-up to the MCD elections, the Election Commission said it has provided Generation-1 EVMs for the polls, describing them as "foolproof".
  3. Admitting that 18 EVMs were replaced after polling started, the state Election Commission said this was normal. "EVMs are machines and hence, they need to be changed due to technical issues... It has been proved that EVMs cannot be hacked, they are robust machines," the Election Commission said.
  4. "Vote against filth, vote for dengue free, chikungunya-free Delhi," Mr Kejriwal said this morning after casting his vote at the Civil Lines polling booth. Mr Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal were among the early voters.
  5. After the drubbing in Goa and Punjab assembly elections, the civic elections are doubly crucial for the Aam Aadmi Party.  The party has even lost the Rajouri Garden assembly by-election days ahead of the polls. Two years ago, AAP won the state election dramatically, losing just three of Delhi's 70 seats -- all to the BJP.
  6. Like other recent elections, the BJP has handled the Delhi civic body polls with political precision. Besides PM Modi, the party paraded some of its biggest names, and carefully recruited power players from its rivals.
  7. The Congress hopes to resurrect itself in Delhi after multiple washouts. But while party vice-president Rahul Gandhi remained missing from the campaigns, in the days ahead of voting, the party's Delhi chief Ajay Maken got engulfed in a rebellion. Just a week ahead of the polls, the party's top leaders in Delhi Arvinder Singh Lovely and Barkha Shukla Singh joined the BJP.
  8. The campaign between these three players has been hard 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." Mr Kejriwal has also accused the BJP of disrupting electricity and water supply to damage his party's chances. "Your fight is with me, so do not harm the people of Delhi," he told the BJP in a dramatic appeal.
  9. Swaraj India - the new political party led by activists Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan - made its electoral debut with the civic body elections.
  10. 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.

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