The counting of votes for the Delhi Municipal Corporation (MCD) elections has begun. Votes for the elections will be counted at 35 centers across the city. Of these, 16 are in North Delhi, 13 in the South, and six in East Delhi.
As many as 90,000 security personnel of Delhi Police, paramilitary forces, and Home Guards have been deployed at the counting centers. The counting will go on till late in the day, but initial trends are expected to come in by 11 a.m.
Voting to pick three new municipal corporations in Delhi took place on Sunday, in which 54 percent of the 1.32 crore electorates exercised their franchise till 5.30 p.m. when polling ended in 270 out of the 272 wards of the three municipal corporations.
On polling day, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal attacked the State Election Commission claiming that reports of "faulty" EVMs were pouring in from across the national capital.
The Aam Aadmi Party chief also alleged that many voters with valid voter slips were "not allowed" to exercise their franchise in the municipal polls. Arvind Kejriwal had earlier demanded that the election is postponed till arrangements for VVPAT-equipped EVM were made. The state election commission denied the charges.
"EVM has proved that it's unhackable. It is a robust machine. Don't think there should be any question related to EVM," State Election commissioner S K Shrivastava said.
Polling did not take place in two wards, Maujpur in east Delhi and Sarai Pipal Thala in north Delhi where a candidate each of the Samajwadi Party died.
After losing in this month's assembly by-polls and the February elections in Punjab and Goa, the municipal polls will be an acid test for Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Government in Delhi.
Kejriwal's former party colleague Yogendra Yadav, who now leads the Swaraj India, wrote an open letter to the chief minister and challenged him to win at least 50 percent seats in the civic polls or step down.
Even as the Swaraj India and the Janata Dal (United) look to expand base beyond Bihar and Jharkhand, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the AAP and the Congress have roped in top leaders and done whatever they could to woo the voters.
For the BJP, it's a matter of prestige. The Congress, buoyed by the Capt. Amarinder Singh-led victory in Punjab is looking for a revival in Delhi politics.
A total of 2,537 candidates were in the fray for the 104 seats each of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation and the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, and 64 seats in the East Delhi Municipal Congress.
For the first time in the MCD elections, the None Of The Above (NOTA) option has been made available.
The three civic bodies cover 68 of the 70 constituencies of the Delhi assembly. Two other smaller civic bodies are the Delhi Cantonment Board and the New Delhi Municipal Council.