Why MCD poll results are crucial for BJP, AAP
According to the India Today-Axis MyIndia exit poll, the AAP could win between 149 and 171 seats in the MCD, which was unified this year and is mandated to provide civic services to nearly 95% of the city
The counting of votes for Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections began on Wednesday morning with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hoping to continue the winning streak that began 15 years back and the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to end it.
Exit polls on Monday showed AAP was likely to win the polls and end the BJP’s civic administration of the city. The AAP’s victory will strengthen its expansion plans after its win in the Punjab assembly polls this year. All surveys also placed AAP as the third biggest party in Gujarat, which has traditionally had a two-party polity. The AAP’s entry is expected to upend it.
According to the India Today-Axis MyIndia exit poll, the AAP could win between 149 and 171 seats in the MCD, which was unified this year and is mandated to provide civic services to nearly 95% of the city.
The BJP, which won 181 seats in the 2017 municipal polls, is likely to get 69 to 91 seats. The Congress is likely to be limited to single-digit seats. The NewsX-Jan Ki Baat exit poll said the AAP is likely to win 150 to 175 seats, the BJP 70 to 92, and the Congress four to seven. The Congress helmed the civic body between 2002 and 2007.
The election to the 250-ward MCD was held on Sunday as 50.48% of voters turned out to vote compared to 54% in 2017. Many affluent areas recorded under 40% turnout. Rural and riot-hit areas in northeast Delhi recorded over 60% turnout. South Delhi’s Andrews Ganj recorded the lowest turnout of 33.74%. Northwest Delhi’s Bakhtawarpur registered the highest turnout. Upscale areas like Greater Kailash and Vasant Vihar recorded 38.99% and 39.64% polling.
High political stakes
The AAP, which contested municipal polls first in 2017, focussed on BJP’s alleged failure in fixing the sanitation mess and financial mismanagement in its campaign. Winning the MCD polls will be a major boost for AAP as it completed a decade as a political party last month. It will cement its position as one of the key parties that can challenge the BJP. By sweeping to power in Punjab earlier this year, it became the only regional party to have governments in two states.
The AAP won 48 out of 272 wards and emerged as the second biggest party replacing the Congress in the 2017 civic polls.
For the BJP, winning the municipal polls is critical as the party has been out of power in Delhi since 1998. It has just eight lawmakers in the Delhi assembly. All seven Members of Parliament from Delhi belong to the BJP.
For the Congress, which was in power in Delhi from 1998 to 2013, the election was essential for its relevance in the city. The party has had no representative in the Delhi assembly since 2013. Its vote share has dropped in every election since 2013.