Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday accused the Congress of labeling the youth of Varanasi "drug addicts", taking a dig at the opposition INDIA bloc.
Winning over 100 wards, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was ahead of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as per the official results declared so far as the counting of votes for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) polls was under way on Wednesday.
The AAP has won 104 wards while BJP emerged victorious on 83 wards as the counting of votes was progress amid tight security at 42 centres for the December 4 MCD polls.
According to official trends at 12.30 pm, the AAP was leading on 31 wards while BJP was ahead on 19. Congress, which has won in five seats, was also leading in as many wards. An independent candidate has won.
Counting for the 250 wards of the civic agency commenced at 8 am amid tight security arrangements at 42 centres.
A total of 1,349 candidates are in the fray. 126 seats are required for a party to come to power in the MCD.
Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal held a meeting with Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and other senior AAP leaders at his residence. Also in attendance were senior party leader Raghav Chaddha, as well as Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann.
Addressing the media at the party headquarters, party spokesperson Sanjeev Jha anticipated that the mayor would be from AAP.
“The BJP has covered Delhi in garbage, it will be cleaned and Arvind Kejriwal’s government will be formed in MCD. People of Delhi had decided to bring AAP in MCD so that Delhi emerges as a clean and beautiful city,” he said.
Earlier in the day, celebrations started at the Aam Aadmi Party office in the national capital after the trends showed that the party crossed the halfway mark in the Delhi Municipal Corporation elections.
Party workers gathered in front of the office and rejoiced the outcome so far dancing and chanting slogans in praise of party chief Arvind Kejriwal.
Earlier, exit polls telecast by different private TV channels, on Monday evening, had predicted a thumping victory for the AAP in the MCD polls as the party was projected to get 155 of the 250 wards.
The MCD polls held on Sunday witnessed a lower turnout of voters as compared to the 2017 polls with 50.48 per cent of the electorates exercising their franchisee, officials said. It was 53 per cent in the 2017.
A total of 13,638 polling centres were set up for the polling on Sunday.
The prime contest in the civic polls is between the BJP and the AAP. Both the parties have fielded candidates in all the 250 wards. The Congress, which is expecting to bag more wards this time compared to that it won in 2017 civic elections, fielded 247 hopefuls.
All the political parties campaigned hard for the elections with the issue of cleanliness in the city figuring prominently in the political discourse.
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.
This year, the Central government unified the three corporations – East Delhi Municipal Corporation, South Delhi Municipal Corporation and North Delhi Municipal Corporation – into one MCD.
After a Home Ministry notification, the total number of MCD wards in Delhi has been reduced to 250 from earlier 272. As many as 42 wards are in the reserved category.
In the last civic body polls held in 2017, the BJP had won 181 of the 270 wards while the AAP had bagged 48 wards and the Congress managed to get 27 seats. The polling was not held for two seats due to the death of candidates.