India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi
New Delhi - The election commission dismissed the charges as false.
Despite the media drumming up a kind of tired frenzy around the Delhi Municipal Corporation (MCD) polls, the turnout was around 54 per cent, same as last time. Some put it down to the voting day being Sunday. Some said it was the heat. But the BJP is not complaining. The exit polls said the party would win by a landslide.
Arvind Kejriwal, chief minister of Delhi and leader of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), said people were losing faith in the exercise as Electronic Voting machines (EVMs) were tampered with. He had expressed similar fears earlier during other elections.
The election commission dismissed the charges as false. Nevertheless, following written complaints by AAP, 18 electronic voting machines were replaced in various booths.
An elated BJP said, the exit polls clearly indicated that the Modi wave continued. "We are here to win every election whether at national, assembly or municipal level," a BJP spokesperson said.
Last week, BJP president Amit Shah had said in a public rally in Odisha that he would not rest easy till the BJP was in power across India and at all levels. He had also said, rather ominously, "the golden age of BJP is yet to begin."
The MCD polls are crucial to the BJP as they took a great risk by not fielding a single sitting councillor, and gone for a brand new team. The BJP has been in power at the municipal corporation for the last 10 years, but has been facing criticism for shoddy work. The new set of councillors are expected to turn the corporation into a more professional, performance driven place.
The AAP seemed to be caught in a downward spiral. They had also performed poorly in the recently held Goa and Punjab assembly elections. Kejriwal and his party had said the MCD elections would be a turning point. His assertion flew in the face of exit polls.
The Congress party kept a low profile. When they spoke later in the day, it was to utter the usual banalities. Congress leader Ajay Maken said the low turnout was an indication that Delhi's 10.2 million voters were "disenchanted with both Modi at the Centre and Kejriwal as Delhi chief minister". He refused to predict the outcome of the polls.
Both the AAP and the Congress, the polls suggested, would be wiped out at the municipal corporation level. In losers' rankings, the AAP came a distant second to the BJP. The Congress Party was placed third.
AAP, Congress to suffer blow
> Despite all the hype, the voter turnout was just 54 per cent of the 13.2 million strong electorate
> The exit poll by ABP News-C Voter claimed that BJP will get a landslide victory in all three corporations with 218 of the total 270 seats. The AAP and the Congress are expected to get 25 each
> The MCD polls are crucial to the BJP as they took a great risk by not fielding a single sitting councillor, and gone for a brand new team