Even a Sunday off failed to get Delhiites to the polling stations to vote for the civic elections for the three municipal corporations. The outcome of this election is being billed to have a much wider impact on city’s politics than being restricted to which party captures power at the Civic Centre.
MCD Election 2017 Voting for 270 seats across the North, South and East municipal corporations came to an end at 5.30 pm. While the final figures of the voter turnout will be available later in the evening, data shared by the State Election Commission from 252 wards claimed 44.48% turnout till 4 pm. Votes will be counted on April 26.
Exit polls predicted a huge BJP majority.
An exit poll by Aaj Tak and India Today TV called the election for BJP. The India Today MCD Election 2017 exit poll predicted about 80 seats for BJP in North and South corporations and 50 seats in East corporation. AAP is predicted to be far behind in the second place in all three corporations, according to the poll, just ahead of the Congress.
Exit poll by ABP News predicted a huge win for BJP in all the three municipal corporations with AAP a distant second. They give the BJP 88 out of 104 seats in North, 83 out of 104 in South and 47 out of 64 in East. In the overall tally, the ABP News poll gave BJP 218 seats out of 272 seats, AAP 24 and Congress 22.
Even as fewer than expected people came out to exercise their franchise, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who was among one of the early voters, questioned the State Election Commission over its preparedness for the polls.
“Reports from all over Delhi of EVM malfunction, people wid voter slips not allowed to vote. What is SEC doing? (sic)” Kejriwal tweeted.
The poll panel, however, clarified that only three such complaints were received and all faulty EVMs were immediately replaced.
“Each returning officer is given four-five extra EVMs as a precautionary measure. As and when, any error is reported, the EVM is replaced immediately. We had received complaints of malfunctioning from three areas in the morning where EVMs were changed,” said a senior SEC official.
Former Delhi minister and BJP leader Arvind Singh Lovely also could not cast his vote as there were some problems in the EVMs at the polling booth in East Azad Nagar area.
“I reached the polling station at 8 am. However, I could not vote as the EVM was not working and I had to leave due to some urgent work. I will go later to cast my vote,” he said.
Meanwhile, voting on two seats — Maujpur in East MCD and Sarai Pipal Thala in North MCD — could not be held on Sunday due to death of a candidate in both wards. Bypolls for thes two seats will be held in May, State Election Commission officials said.
The 2012 municipal elections had recorded a 55% turnout, the highest ever in the city’s civic polls. Going by the importance being attached to the civic polls this year, the voter turnout was expected to be higher.
In 1997, the polling percentage was 41%, while it increased to 51% in 2002 and dropped again to 42.78% in 2007. On the other hand, the city witnessed 67.14% polling in 2015 assembly elections and 65.09% in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Some of the early voters included lieutenant governor Anil Baijal, who turned up at 8 am to cast his vote at Masjid Moth polling centre. Among other leaders who exercised their franchise early included deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, Congress leaders Ajay Maken and union minister Dr Harsh Vardhan.