New Delhi: The stage is set for the high- stake Delhi municipal bypolls to 13 wards on Saturday, with both ruling BJP and Congress exuding confidence of winning while AAP is seeking to replicate its assembly elections performance in its maiden outing at the civic hustings.
Over 6 lakh electorates will decide the fate of 95 candidates in the bypolls necessitated due to 13 councillors getting elected to Delhi Assembly in 2013 and 2015.
The Delhi State Election Commission has also geared up to hold smoothly the elections at 695 polling stations and made necessary arrangements besides deploying about 2,500 staff.
"Out of 695 polling stations, about 200 have been identified as sensitive and ultra-sensitive and adequate security arrangement has been made in those areas. Among the three corporations, North Corporation area has been found the most sensitive for polling," Delhi State Election Commissioner Rakesh Mehta told PTI.
In the elections to the then unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi in 2012, BJP had held 7 seats out of these 13. The same year MCD was trifurcated into North Corporation (NDMC), South Corporation (SDMC) and East Corporation (EDMC).
In 2012 MCD elections, BJP candidates had won the Nangloi Jat, Shalimar Bagh (North) and Wazirpur wards, now falling under the NDMC.
Delhi BJP president Satish Upadhyay has claimed his party will poll "maximum share of votes" and give the "best" performance in the bypolls.
Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken has also claimed the party candidates are getting overwhelming support from the people, saying it is a clear indication that Congress would "win" the MCD by-elections with "thumping margins".
Having won 67 of 70 seats in the Delhi Assembly elections, Aam Aadmi Party is upbeat in its maiden outing in the civic polls, aiming to replicate its performance.
AAP contested two Assembly polls in the national capital - in 2013 and 2015, and the party has been highlighting "BJP's corruption" and "rotten" state of affairs in the civic bodies, an issue it seeks to leverage in the bypolls.
Among other candidates in the BJP camp, ex-MLA Nagpal is again contesting from Wazirpur ward.
The councilor of Matiala ward in South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) Rajesh Gehlot had also vacated the seat after being elected to Delhi Assembly in 2013. Ashok Sharma will try to wrest back the seat which is expected to witness keen contest among BJP, AAP and Congress.
The Nanakpura ward in SDMC fell vacant after election of the BJP ward councilor Anil Kumar Sharma from R K Puram constituency in 2013 Assembly elections. BJP's Kartar Singh Tanwar from Bhati ward later joined AAP and won from Chhatarpur Assembly seat in 2015 elections.
There are a total of 6,68,870 voters entitled to exercise their franchise in the by-elections for wards falling under three corporations - SDMC (7), NDMC(4) and EDMC(2).
Voting will be held from 8 am to 5 pm. Counting of votes will be held on May 17 and begin at the counting centres established in the 13 wards from 8 am.