New Delhi: A nine per cent voter turnout was recorded till 10.30 am in the high-stakes civic election in Delhi which is largely been seen as a three-way contest among the BJP, AAP and Congress.
There are 1,349 candidates in the fray and over 1.45 crore electors are eligible to exercise their franchise in the elections to the 250 wards of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), the results of which have the potential of having ramifications beyond the national capital.
Polling began at 8 am and will continue till 5:30 pm. Votes will be counted on December 7.
AAP national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday urged people to exercise their franchise.
Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta cast his vote along with his wife at West Patel Nagar.
Anil Kumar, the Delhi Congress president, however, found his name missing from the voters' list. "My name is neither in the voter list nor in the deleted list. My wife has voted. Officials are checking it," Kumar said at a polling booth in Dallupura.
An official said, "Polling percentage at 10:30 am across Delhi in 250 wards is around 9 per cent. Polling is going on smoothly in all wards. No untoward incident was reported till now. Polling has so far been hassle-free."
Among the early voters was 106-year-old Shanti Bala who reached the Deputy Ganj polling station in the Bara Hindu Rao area assisted by police personnel and her family members.
Delhi Lt Governor V K Saxena and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appealed to people to cast votes in the MCD polls.
"I appeal to all voters in Delhi to exercise their franchise today and fulfil their responsibility of shaping the city," the LG tweeted.
According to data shared by State Election Commission officials, the total number of voters in Delhi is 1,45,05,358 of which 78,93,418 are male, 66,10,879 female and 1,061 transgender persons.
Authorities have set up 13,638 polling stations across Delhi. According to data, 3,360 booths in 493 locations have been identified as "critical" or "sensitive".
Sixty-eight model polling stations and as many pink polling stations covering all assembly segments in the city have been established, poll officials said.
Both the AAP and the BJP have exuded confidence that they will emerge victorious in the polls while the Congress is seeking to regain lost turf.
This is the first civic election after the fresh delimitation exercise. The MCD poll is being held days after the first phase of the Gujarat assembly elections, and a day ahead of its second phase where also the AAP's entry has disrupted the political equation of the western coastal state.
This is also the first civic poll being held in the national capital after the February 2020 riots.
The erstwhile MCD, established in 1958, was trifurcated in 2012 during Sheila Dikshit's tenure as chief minister. Between 2012 and 2022, Delhi had 272 wards and three corporations -- North Delhi, South Delhi and East Delhi municipal corporations. These three civic bodies were reunified into the Municipal Corporation of Delhi which came into existence on May 22.
In the 2017 civic election, the BJP won 181 of the 270 wards. Polling could not be held on two seats due to the death of candidates. The AAP had won 48 wards and the Congress 27. The voting percentage that year was around 53 per cent.