New Delhi: Delhiites will seal the electoral fate of 2,400 candidates when they hit the polling booths on Sunday to elect councillors for the newly-carved three municipal bodies in the capital, an election seen as a semi-final ahead of next year`s Assembly polls.
With campaigning ending at an unusual time of 5:30 am on Saturday, political parties and candidates, a large chunk of them independents, spent a sleepless night wooing voters at the last minute. The counting of votes will take place on Tuesday.
The polls to the three civic bodies -- East, North and South -- carved out from Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) is crucial for Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and the opposition BJP as the Assembly elections are just 18 months away.
The State Election Commission has made elaborate arrangements for tomorrow`s polling by deploying around 70,000 officials for conducting the polls and over 30,000 police personnel for security.
A total of 55 polling stations have been identified as hyper-sensitive while 275 have been declared as sensitive out of 11,500 polling stations. Most of the hyper-sensitive and sensitive polling stations fall under Assembly segments of Jamia Nagar, Seelampur and Chandni Chowk.
A total of 1.12 crore eligible voters will be able to exercise their franchise in the polls which include 42.95 lakh voters in North Delhi Municipal Corporation, 42.67 lakh voters in South Delhi corporation and 27.16 lakh voters in East Delhi
The main contenders are BJP and Congress, the ruling and opposition block respectively in the current MCD, but smaller parties like Samajwadi Party and BSP are giving sleepless nights to them.
Though in public they make claims about clean sweep in the elections, leaders in Congress and BJP are keeping their fingers crossed as the polls are nearing.
Both the parties are also tense about the rebel presence in some of the wards, which they believe will affect their chances in some of the areas. The two parties have also expelled a number of local leaders to send a strong message to
As the campaign entered a hectic phase, Dikshit and her Cabinet colleagues, Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken and DPCC chief Jai Prakash Aggarwal had hit the streets.
From the BJP side, almost all Delhi leaders, including Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly V K Malhotra and Delhi BJP chief Vijender Gupta are on campaign trail.
Gupta has earned the wrath of a section of his partymen over denial of party tickets. There was also criticism from within the party about giving poll ticket to his wife Shobha.