MCD polls 2017: What’s at stake for three main contenders - AAP, BJP and Congress
New Delhi: The voting for high-octane Delhi municipal polls is now underway with three main players -- the AAP, the BJP and the Congress vying for control over three municipal bodies in the capital.
The campaigning involving the three parties was intense, marked by rancour, accusations and counter-accusations.
There is a lot at stake for all three as the verdict will reshape the political equations in the country's power capital.
Here is what will be at stake for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress:
The elections will determine whether the sway of Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP - which had stunned all by bagging 67 seats out of 70 in the 2015 assembly polls - still holds and if the Rajouri Garden defeat was due to hostile constituency dynamics.
The AAP, which suffered a humiliating defeat in the recent bypolls and still smarting under its poor performance in Punjab and Goa polls, has refused to acknowledge the results as a "trailer of MCD polls".
The run-up to the polls have also been dominated by allegations of tampered EVMs, made by Kejriwal, a charge rejected by the Election Commission.
The BJP is seeking to retain the turf it has held for the last 10 years and has fielded all fresh faces in the contest -- 267 wards.
It had expelled it's Narela ward candidate from the party for allegedly allowing sacked AAP minster Sandeep Kumar to campaign for her.
While the BJP's move to field new candidates was seen as a strategy to counter anti-incumbency, the party claims it was to "give opportunity to the next generation". The BJP is betting big on the contest.
Addressing booth-level workers during campaigning, party chief Amit Shah had said a favourable verdict in the MCD polls could be a stepping stone to victory in the next Assembly elections in the city.
The Congress, which finished second in the Rajouri Garden bypoll, is hoping for a resurgence and banked on its big guns during campaigns to shore up its fortune, despite unabated infighting. It has fielded 271 candidates.
The elections are also a test for Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken who has been accused by many senior leaders of ignoring them.
Senior Congress leader and former Delhi minister Arvinder Singh Lovely had recently wuit the party to join the BJP. He accused Maken for 'shunting' the senior leaders.
Party's Delhi women wing president Barkha Shukla Singh also made scathing attacks against Maken and party Vice President Rahul Gandhi before tendering her resignation from the post. She was later expelled by the Congress and has joined the BJP.
The total number of electorate for the civic polls stands at 1,32,10,206 which include 73,15,915 men, 58,93,418 women and 793 voters in the other category.
The erstwhile unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) was trifurcated in 2012 into North, South and East Municipal Corporations. While NDMC and SDMC have 104 wards each, EDMC has 64.