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MCD elections: AAP wins, BJP out but not down in Delhi

Despite a win, AAP leaders have gone into a huddle. Congress tally has dipped further, while BJP's vote share is more than last time. We break down the Delhi civic election results.

Delhi MCD polls, delhi mcd election results, aap seats delhi MCD, BJP seats delhi mcd, congress delhi mcd, arvind kejriwal, express explained, indian expressScenes at the AAP office in Delhi during counting of MCD election votes on Wednesday, (Photo: Prem Nath Pandey)

The Aam Aadmi Party crossed the halfway-mark of 125 wards out of 250 in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) poll results on Wednesday afternoon and is poised to win 134 seats. BJP, which was in power in the corporation since 2007, is set to win 103 wards.

Both BJP and AAP launched a high-decibel campaign ahead of polls, but the former had more star power, with several Union ministers, senior BJP leaders, and BJP CMs conducting rounds of campaigns across Delhi.

AAP, which was banking on anti-incumbency against the BJP and was hoping to get upwards of 200 seats, may have won but not as convincingly as it would have liked to.

The key takeaways from MCD polls

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As results started pouring in on Wednesday morning, it became clear to AAP leaders that there was not going to be a landslide win of the likes that it has become accustomed to in Delhi Assembly polls. In the 2015 and 2020 Assembly polls, AAP won 67 and 62 seats respectively out of 70.

Till the first six rounds of counting in a majority of wards, BJP was ahead. As the percentage of votes counted rose, AAP’s seats did too, but the number was not enough to stop senior leaders from going into a huddle to understand where they went wrong.

Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, MP Raghav Chadha, Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann among others met the CM at his house on Wednesday morning. The CM and leaders only left his house once AAP candidates were declared winners in 126 wards.

The BJP, which has ruled MCD since 2007, managed to prove with its 100+ tally that it was not as weighed down by anti-incumbency as the Opposition had hoped. The party managed to up its vote share from 36% in the 2017 MCD polls to 39% this time around.

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Party leaders have attributed this to the Prime Minister’s popularity in Delhi — BJP won all seven Lok Sabha seats from Delhi in 2014 as well as 2019 — and to its pointed campaign against AAP’s alleged corruption. Videos of AAP minister Satyendar Jain allegedly getting preferential treatment in jail provided BJP with the ammunition it needed for the last push. Also, allegations of corruption in the Delhi Excise Policy seem to have worked in favour of BJP in some pockets.

Congress, despite a poor show in Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in 2014 and 2015, had managed to cornered a 21% vote share in the 2017 MCD polls, winning 30 seats. This time around, with a tally of 9-10 seats (won 7, leading on 3), the party has been marginalised further in the national Capital. A lacklustre campaign, which was spearheaded by the Delhi unit alone, unlike that of BJP’s, and the lack of a credible face proved to be its undoing, leaving it with a vote share of barely 12%.

With BJP set to win over 100 seats, party leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa said at the party office, “People supported BJP for its work. Likewise, they will support BJP for the Mayor’s selection. Delhi will have a BJP Mayor.”
With the Anti-Defection Act not applicable in municipal polls, the chances of last minute changes in which party is able to stake claim to the seat of the mayor are high.

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A mayor is usually nominated by the party which has the highest number of councillors. Only if the opposition puts up a candidate are elections mandated. Since AAP’s victory has not been a sweep, the chances of elected councillors switching parties becomes high.

In the 2017 polls, BSP, INLD and Samajwadi Party candidates had won, alongside four Independents. The number of councillors who were not affiliated to BJP, AAP or Congress was 11. This time, not a single ward has gone to parties that are small players in Delhi and only three Independent candidates have won, signalling a bipolar contest in the city in the future.

First published on: 07-12-2022 at 15:07 IST
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