Delhi municipal by-polls: Voting underway at 5 MCD wards
Voters queued up on Sunday as polling for elections to five wards of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) began at 7:30am in the first set of polls being held in Delhi amid the coronavirus pandemic. Several people were seen queued outside polling booths in the city’s Ward No 32N, (Rohini-C), Ward No 62N, (Shalimar Bagh North) in north Delhi and Ward No 02-E (Trilokpuri), Ward No 08-E (Kalyanpuri) and Ward No 41-E (Chauhan Bangar) in east Delhi.
Polling will go on till 5:30pm and the results for the two wards under North Delhi Municipal Corporation and three under the East Delhi Municipal Corporation will be declared on March 3.
Four of the five wards fell vacant after their incumbent councillors were elected as the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) legislators in the assembly polls whereas the by-election in Shalimar Bagh was necessitated after the death of councillor Renu Jaju, who won the seat on a BJP ticket in 2017. The national capital went to assembly polls in February last year in which chief minister Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP emerged victorious with a huge majority.
For nearly 15 years, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has ruled all three MCDs in the city. In 2017, while AAP won four of these five wards, Congress was pushed to a distant third with just 30 seats.
While the Congress looks to improve its performance, state labour minister and AAP’s Delhi unit convener Gopal Rai on Saturday called the by-polls a “semi-final” to end the BJP’s 15-year control and that the election will write Delhi’s future for the next five years.
“The BJP spread politics of hate during the Delhi assembly elections, but people again voted for an AAP government under chief minister Kejriwal. The AAP will defeat the BJP in the MCD by-election just the way it did in the assembly elections. This election is not about the Congress, but about defeating the BJP. The Congress will not do any good to the citizens of Delhi, but only split the vote,” Rai said.
Chief minister Kejriwal, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and other cabinet ministers campaigned for their candidates on all five seats. The BJP, meanwhile, held roadshows and meetings at the booth level and has tasked each party worker to get support from at least 21 houses.