NEW DELHI: As the voting for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections began on Sunday morning, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appealed to people of the national capital to cast their votes to make a corruption-free government in the civic body.
"Today there is voting to make Delhi clean and beautiful, there is voting to make a corruption-free government in the Municipal Corporation. My appeal to all the Delhiites - do go to cast your vote today to form an honest and working government in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi," Kejriwal tweeted.
The voting for 250 wards began at 8 am and will conclude at 5:30 pm. Over 1.45 crore people are eligible to vote in civic polls in which 1,349 candidates are in the fray, setting the stage for the high-stakes civic polls largely seen as a three-way contest between the BJP, the AAP and the Congress.
Delhi witnessed high-decibel campaigning by AAP and BJP which made top leaders, including Union ministers, chief ministers of BJP-ruled states and MPs hit the streets for door-to-door campaigning and meetings to garner public support. The counting of votes will be done on December 7.
According to data shared by the State Election Commission officials, the total number of voters in Delhi is 1,45,05,358 -- 78,93,418 males, 66,10,879 females and 1,061 transgender persons. There are 250 wards in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).
Delhi State Election Commission has set up 13,638 polling stations for the elections. The State Election Commission said a large workforce of election functionaries and security agencies have put humungous efforts to make necessary preparations for conducting elections at 13,638 polling stations spread across Delhi.
Further, 68 Model Polling Stations and 68 Pink Polling Stations have been established for the quality experience of the voters. Adequate arrangements for the deployment of forces have been made.
68 Model Polling Stations have been set up with facilities including a waiting area/lounge, distribution of candies/toffees to voters, a selfie booth and Civil Defence Volunteers to help PwD/senior citizens 68 Pink booths have been set up with facilities including all-female staff at the polling station, a feeding room for lactating mothers, a creche facility for small kids accompanying voters, swings for kids, selfie booth.
The Commission said it has made elaborate arrangements for "safe, secure and pleasant" voting experience. These measures are required to keep the electoral field free and to ensure that a level playing field is afforded to all political parties and candidates.
Both the AAP and the BJP have exuded confidence that they will emerge victorious in the polls while the Congress is trying to regain lost turf.
All political parties campaigned hard for the elections with the issue of cleanliness in the city figuring prominently in the political discourse. BJP with its senior leaders and chief ministers of the party-ruled state held over 200 public meetings and roadshows.
The BJP, which has governed the civic body in Delhi since 2007, is looking to maintain its winning streak while the Aam Aadmi Party, which has a majority in the Assembly, is looking to make inroads in the first municipal election in the capital after the delimitation of wards.
BJP leaders Nitin Gadkari, Meenakshi Lekhi, Piyush Goyal and Hardeep Singh Puri campaigned for the party. Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) along with 50 other trade associations of Delhi have declared their support for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the upcoming municipal polls.
Delhi Police is working round-the-clock to ensure the peaceful and orderly conduct of the polls. This is the first civic election after the fresh delimitation exercise.
There were 272 wards in Delhi and three corporations- NDMC, SDMC, and EDMC in Delhi from 2012-2022 that later reunified into an MCD that had formally come into existence on May 22.