New Delhi: Voting was underway in the national capital on Sunday for the high-stakes civic polls, which are largely being seen as a three-way contest among the AAP, BJP and Congress.
There are 1,349 candidates in the fray and over 1.45 crore electors are eligible to exercise their franchise in the elections to the 250 wards of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), the results of which may have ramifications beyond the national capital.
Polling began at 8 am and will continue till 5:30 pm.
AAP convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday urged people in the city to exercise their franchise for setting up an honest and performing establishment in the MCD.
"Today is voting for making a neat and clean and beautiful Delhi, voting for forming a corruption free government (establishment) at the municipal corporation.I appeal all the Delhi citizen to do go for voting to form an honest and performing government at the MCD," Kejriwal tweeted in Hindi.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia also asked people to vote for work, not for those responsible for making Delhi a dumping yard
"I appeal to 2.5 crore people of Delhi to step out of their houses and vote today so that we can work for you. People have made up their minds to elect the Aam Aadmi Party in the municipal corporation," Sisodia told reporters at his residence.
According to data shared by 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.
Votes will be counted on December 7.
Both the AAP and the BJP have exuded confidence that they will emerge victorious in the polls while the Congress is seeking to regain lost turf.
This is the first civic election after the fresh delimitation exercise, and the poll is being held days after the first phase of the Gujarat assembly elections, and a day ahead of its second phase.
Authorities have set up 13,638 polling stations across Delhi for the exercise.
This is also the first civic poll being held in the national capital after the February 2020 riots here and according to the data shared by officials, 3,360 booths, spanning 493 locations, have been identified in critical or sensitive categories.
For the MCD polls, "nearly 40,000 Delhi Police personnel, about 20,000 home guards and 108 companies of the CAPF and the SAP are to be deployed", a senior police official earlier said.
Sixty-eight model polling stations and as many pink polling stations covering all assembly segments in the city have been established for the quality experience of voters, poll officials said.
There were 272 wards in Delhi and three corporations -- NDMC, SDMC and EDMC -- from 2012-2022, before being reunified into an MCD that had formally come into existence on May 22.
The erstwhile MCD, established in 1958, was trifurcated in 2012 during Sheila Dikshit's tenure as the chief minister.
In the civic election in 2017, the BJP had won 181 of the 270 wards. Polling could not be held on two seats due to the death of candidates. The AAP had won 48 wards and the Congress 27.
In 2017 civic polls, the voting percentage was about 53.