Stage set for counting of votes for Corporation polls

Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar
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To begin at 8 a.m. at 33 counting centres across the Capital; all the results likely to be declared by 3 p.m.

Taking no chances:An alert securityman at one of the counting centres on G. T. Karnal Road in the Capital on Monday.- Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma
Taking no chances:An alert securityman at one of the counting centres on G. T. Karnal Road in the Capital on Monday.- Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

The fate of the 2,423 candidates, including 1,176 independents, who contested elections to the newly trifurcated Municipal Corporation of Delhi on Sunday would be know by late afternoon on Tuesday. The counting of votes for the three newly constituted corporations will begin at 8 a.m. at 33 counting centres across the city.

State Election Commissioner Rakesh Mehta said all the electronic voting machines were sealed after polling got over and then moved to the strong-rooms at the counting centres on Sunday night. On Monday, an extensive training programme was organised by the Commission for the counting staff and counting of votes would be taken up from 8 a.m. on Tuesday.

“Once the counting for a ward is taken up it would not stop till the time all the votes are counted,” Mr. Mehta explained. He said the counting would take place ward-wise and during the process the observers, polling agents and agents of candidates would be on one side of the table while the area in which the Returning Officer and the candidates would be present would be barricaded to ensure hindrance-free counting.

The Commission has also not allowed the media into the counting rooms as is the case in the Lok Sabha or Assembly elections. “There is a media room in every counting centre and the media would not be allowed into the counting zones,” he said.

Mr. Mehta said all the EVMs had been stored in proper strong-rooms. All the counting centres, barring one in Dhaula Kuan, are in buildings. The centre in Dhaula Kuan has come up in a tented structure. It was taken up as there was no other building in the area to meet the requirements of counting.

The Commissioner said he was confident that all the results would be declared by 3 p.m.

The elections to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi had witnessed the participation of 17 parties with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party contesting all the 272 wards, the Congress 271 and the Bahujan Samaj Party 253. This is the first time that Delhi is voting for three different corporations following trifurcation of the MCD and the introduction of 50 per cent seats for women.

Of the 272 wards, 138 have been reserved for women and 46 for Scheduled Castes.

The result would decide if Delhi would give a clear mandate to either the BJP, which fought the polls on the issue of alleged corruption and poor governance of the Congress at the Centre and in Delhi Government; the Congress that fought the polls on the agenda that it was only a referendum on the alleged poor performance of the BJP-ruled MCD; or whether the independents and other parties would end up spoiling their providing and give one or more ‘hung' corporations.

In 2007, when the BJP was voted to power in the corporation following the sealing action in Delhi, only 42 per cent votes were cast. The vote percentage in Delhi was significantly higher in the Assembly elections in 2008, when the Congress had won, and in 2009 Lok Sabha polls when the Congress had swept all the seven seats.

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