In both the polls, BJP is seen getting almost four times the number of combined seats of AAP and Congress put together. If the voting trends hold true, it becomes clear that BJP has managed to buck the anti-incumbency trend.
Though the AAP might have gained credence for delivering in Delhi, with two factors working strongly in its favour – free water subsidised electricity – the same is not showing in terms of its MCD performance.
The people of Delhi seem generally happy with these deliverables as they have benefited Delhi voters a lot.
However, a large section of voters in Delhi, including AAP insiders, feel that Delhi CM and AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal's dictatorial and unilateral decisions and adverse comments against PM Narendra Modi have gone against the party. They believe that it is not the party's performance but rather Kejriwal who is behind the AAP's demise.
AAP must be a gracious loser: Yogendra Yadav
Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav told the media that his former party, AAP, must be a gracious loser.
"AAP must show grace and accept defeat," he said, adding that there was "no indication that EVMs were tampered with in Delhi." Yadav continued, "AAP needs to introspect, it is not right to blame others."
If EVM decides democracy, it's a dangerous trend: Gopal Rai
AAP minister Gopal Rai has dismissed notions that the Modi wave that has been sweeping state after state (with a few exceptions) is responsible for the saffron party's performance in the civic election. "AAP winning or losing is a small thing. But if EVM decides democracy, then it is a dangerous trend... This is not the Modi wave, this is an EVM wave."
The minister added, "For 10 years, BJP has been ruling the MCD. The way they have won today, it's only due to the EVM wave."
In spite of the early trends of the MCD election say, the volunteers of AAP remain optimistic that their party would do well in the MCD election.
"Even in the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections, trends of the results and the media didn't predict the correct numbers. But, we proved everyone wrong. So, let us wait till the final result is out," said Sunil Kumar, an AAP volunteer outside the party office .
BJP leading in all 3 civic bodies, Aam Aadmi Party now at second spot in Delhi
The BJP was leading in all the three civic bodies, while Delhi's ruling AAP was at second spot, and the Congress was trailing at third spot, according to counting trends after an hour, Delhi State Election Commission officials said on Wednesday.
The BJP was leading in 110 wards, the AAP in 28 and the Congress in 23 wards.
The trend does not augur well for the Aam Aadmi Party. If the MCD polls are a referendum on the party's performance in over the last close to three years in power, then it is clear that it has lost public goodwill. The BJP is leading others by a mile, as predicted by exit polls. Media reports say the Congress has pushed the AAP to the third position. If the trend holds then it is back to the old days in Delhi's civic body politics. The disruptor has been disrupted. The AAP days could get over here soon. Introspection is in order for Arvind Kejriwal.
Mukesh and Niwas from Katputli colony await the results, as they stand by for the celebrations that will follow. They are seen outside counting centres each election, knowing that someone is going to celebrate no matter what.
BJP leads in 160 wards, Delhi party chief Manoj Tiwari confident about win
BJP's Delhi chief Manoj Tiwari on Wednesday said he was sure his party would win the civic polls. "I am sure we will win. I have no doubt about it," Tiwari told the media, as counting of votes began. He said the BJP would make Delhi a "clean city" and free it from all sorts of diseases after the party "wins" the municipal elections.
The speed at which BJP candidates are picking up leads across the National Capital has Congress and AAP supporters down in the dumps. And it looks more than likely that this will be another victorious chapter for the BJP.
Tarun Mathur, who supports Anjali Mathur, an independent candidate from Vasant Vihar, explains the need for independent candidates.
BJP storms ahead according to nearly all TV channels
While Times Now and India Today have BJP ahead in a monstrous 185 seats (among 270), other channels are being more conservative — CNN-News18 puts the figure at 82, while NDTV pegs the BJP's leads at 92.
Ritu Singh Sehrawat, an independent candidate from Vasant Vihar, was earlier with the BJP but had to leave as she claimed that the party did not want to field any educated leaders from her area. She wanted to challenge them by contesting independently. Waiting outside the NP Girls Model School counting centre, she hopes to win.
Why would a mere civic body poll be so important for national parties? Well, it's not 'mere' if one considers what is at stake. It's prestige. Delhi was the first state to halt the Narendra Modi victory juggernaut post the 2014 General Election. The BJP has to prove that it was a minor bleep, not a definitive statement of its strength in the capital state.
The AAP has to prove that its victory was no fluke. If it wins or even does well, it will remain a strong counter-force to the BJP in Delhi. For the Congress, the question, of course, is revival. A decent performance will be a much-needed booster dose for it. Besides all that, a victory in Delhi has a certain bang value. It's the power hub of the country.
BJP yielding not an inch; credit goes to Amit Shah
At least 232 seats out of 272 - that's the BJP's expectation for the MCD polls. Given the fact that they have been on an electoral purple patch for long, the target cannot be said to be highly optimistic.
Moreover, sweeps have become the trend in Indian elections. So, even 250 is achievable. Whatever be the result, you have to give it to the party. It yields not an inch, it takes no election lightly.
When did you last see high-profile national leaders campaigning for a civic body election? The credit must go to party president Amit Shah. He hates losing. It can only mean good for the party.
First trends begin rolling in
According to Times Now, BJP leads in nine seats, Congress and AAP in one apiece.
NDTV gives BJP six leads, Congress three and AAP the solitary lead.
India Today has the BJP ahead in 21 seats with AAP ahead in five and Congress in four.
CNN-News18 has BJP ahead in three seats, Congress in five and AAP in two.
Rajkumar Gupta, a resident of JJ camp, Gole Market, said that he has never seen such barricading and security in his area before. Interestingly, this counting centre falls under the NDMC (New Delhi Municipal Corporation) and not the MCD. Yet, the barricading is extensive. Perhaps the recent allegations of tampering with EVM machines has forced the authorities to beef up security.
Security on high alert as counting officers reach the centres
Tight security was seen outside the NP Girls Model School, the counting centre for Kasturba Nagar, Jangpura, Greater Kailash, Okhla, Malviya Nagar and RK Puram seats. Barricades were put up more than 500 metres away from the school's main building.
What if it is an AAP sweep? It will be a tight slap in the face of pundits in the media — well-deserved, one must say. They have been so busy writing off Arvind Kejriwal that they could have missed some good work his government has done at the ground level. His party's campaigning also has a different touch.
It's more personal and the party reaches deep. Opponents should be wary. Never mind the pundits; they are used to losing face. They will spring back quickly after a good slap or two.
Giving credit for electoral victory is as important as finding a good excuse after a defeat. It's flattery in a sophisticated form. And who can do it better than us Indians? The BJP knows who to give credit to: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah.
The Congress, of course, cannot think beyond the Gandhis, and as for AAP, it would be Arvind Kejriwal. A decent performance for the Congress would be termed as a grand revival of the party under scion Rahul Gandhi. After a series of miserable electoral performances across the country, Rahul surely needs a morale-booster. But people know better, don't they?
Irrespective of results, introspection is need of the hour for AAP
Aam Aaadmi Party, the hope of the aamaadmi (common man) of Delhi till two years back, is expected to get a drubbing at the hands of BJP in the MCD elections, as per exit polls.
Whatever be the results on Wednesday, the party needs to undergo serious introspection if it wants to resist the onslaught from BJP in Delhi. It needs to rethink its strategy, else retaining Delhi in the 2020 Assembly election and expanding base in rest of India would be difficult.
The party needs to identify key issues with its current set up and tweak its strategy for the upcoming elections.
The day of the high stake municipal polls in Delhi is here and, on Sunday, people of the National Capital will elect its municipal councillors, in what has turned out to be a triangular contest, the political ramifications of which will go much beyond the city's borders.
The campaign in the lead up to the election saw three main players emerge – AAP, BJP and the Congress – and was marked by rancour as the verdict will reshape the political equations in the country's power capital.
It will determine whether the electoral sway of Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP – which had stunned all by bagging 67 seats in the 2015 Assembly polls out of 70 – still holds and if the Rajouri Garden defeat in the recent bypoll was just because of the hostile constituency dynamics.
For the ruling BJP, holding on to power and fighting a decade-long anti-incumbency wave is a challenge and an opportunity to blunt Kejriwal's attempts to emerge as the principal adversary of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Congress, which has considerably increased its vote share in polls held after 2015, where it was reduced to zero seats, is hoping to gain its lost ground and make its presence felt, despite unabated infighting.
Addressing the booth-level workers, BJP chief Amit Shah had said a favourable verdict could be a stepping stone to victory in the next Assembly election in the city. The run-up to the polls have also been dominated by allegations of tampered EVMs, made by Kejriwal, a charge rejected by the Election Commission.
The Generation-1 electronic voting machines (EVMs) are to be used for the MCD elections, which the poll body has described as "fool proof". The State Election Commission is gearing up to carry out the electoral exercise, that will be spread over 13,000 booths spanning 272 wards.
Over 1.3 crore people are eligible to vote in the polls and of them, more than 1.1 lakh are first-time voters. Out of the 13,022 polling stations, police authorities have declared 3,284 as sensitive and 1,464 as hypersensitive.
For the first time in MCD elections, none of the above (NOTA) option will be available. The total number of registered electorate for the civic polls stands at 1,32,10,206 which include 73,15,915 men, 58,93,418 women and 793 voters in the other category.
This would be the first civic poll after the latest delimitation which has redrawn the civic wards. As per the new delimitation exercise, based on the 2011 Census, each ward now has an average of 60,000 people with an estimated 40,000 voters. Delhi has 70 Assembly seats and before the delimitation, every constituency had four wards, but, now it ranges from 3-7. The erstwhile unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) was trifurcated in 2012 into North, South and East Municipal Corporations. While NDMC and SDMC have 104 wards each, EDMC has 64.
Earlier, during campaigning, the BJP fielded several senior leaders to seek votes in Delhi. Party president Amit Shah was scheduled to address an election rally in south-west Delhi’s Dwarka along with party leader and Bhojpuri film actor Ravi Kishan on Thursday, though it was cancelled as Shah was reportedly unwell. Senior party leader Smriti Irani was brought in his place to bolster the campaign. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh also held election rallies in Kirari and Mustafabad.
Rajnath, speaking at the rallies, had said that the Modi government took tough decisions in the past year, including surgical strike and demonetisation and got massive support of people.
Representational image. Agencies
"People of Delhi have been deprived of inclusive development during the last two years because Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government did not take benefits of central schemes to the poor," he said.
Other Union ministers and senior party leaders including Venkaiah Naidu, Uma Bharti, Harsh Vardhan, Santosh Gangwar and Sanjiv Balyan, also addressed rallies in different parts of the city on Friday.
The Kejriwal-led party has been looking to wrestle more power in the capital by taking control of the civic bodies from BJP, which they say will allow them to 'better govern and develop the city'.
AAP recently released its manifesto at a press conference – with Kejriwal along with senior party leaders Manish Sisodia, Ashutosh, Ashish Talwar, Dilip Pandey, and Alka Lamba present. In an attempt to establish itself as a clear alternative to BJP, it focused primarily on the sanitation in the city – a rampant problem of the BJP regime. It said that the party aims to make Delhi a garbage-free city, with the promise to make the city free of vector-borne diseases in three years.
Kejriwal also posted a video and audio message, promising to clean up the national capital in one year if his AAP wins Sunday's municipal election.
On the other hand, Congress has focussed on youth, to help with both education and employment. The party has also promised to tackle poverty and infrastructure if it wins the popular mandate.
Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken and former Union ministers Jairam Ramesh, Salman Khurshid and Sashi Tharoor were among those who campaigned for the party.