Nearly 46 pc turnout in MCD bypolls billed as litmus test

Nearly 46 per cent voters exercised their franchise in the high-stake MCD bypolls for 13 wards today, being billed as a litmus test for popularity of the AAP government even as BJP and Congress put a stiff fight in Delhi.

Braving scorching sun, voters queued up since early morning in the wards falling under three corporations – SDMC (7), NDMC (4) and EDMC (2).

“45.9 per cent of the 6,68,870 voters exercised their franchise in the bypolls which were held peacefully,” an election official said.

BJP, which is ruling the civic bodies, and Congress both exuded confidence of an impressive performance, while AAP hoped to replicate its Assembly polls magic in its maiden outing at the civic hustings.

Delhi BJP President Satish Upadhyay claimed that “based on grass-roots feed back, BJP is likely to be the top performer in today’s civic by-polls.”

Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken said “the enthusiastic manner in which the people of Delhi came out to vote clearly showed that they were unhappy with the AAP government and the BJP-ruled MCD.”

He said the results of these bypolls would provide a “big surprise” as the Congress party would be making “huge gains” in it.

Convener of Delhi AAP Dilip Pandey said that the party was “very optimistic and hopeful” that the “hard work” of its volunteers will yield “good results”.

He, however, did not agree with suggestions that the results of the by-polls will be a test of popularity of the AAP government, saying it was a “local” affair.

BJP alleged that some state election staff “favoured” the ruling AAP leaders.

Police said no untoward incident was reported, except a commotion reported outside a polling station in Ballimaran, which was controlled.

“One EVM in Ballimaran ward did not function in the beginning of polling, but by 8:30 am it was replaced,” Delhi State Election Commissioner Rakesh Mehta said.

“People continued to queue up at Bhati ward even till 6 PM as the authorities allowed people to vote who had entered the polling stations till 5 PM,” a Delhi State Election Commission official said.

Counting of votes will be held on May 17.