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Delhi election: Early trends show regional party AAP ahead in vote

Shots of people voting during Delhi Assembly Elections, New Delhi.Image copyright
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Early trends show Delhi’s governing Aam Aadmi Party leading in more than 50 of the 70 seats in the Indian capital.

It’s ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is leading in 16 seats.

Delhi voted on 8 February after a high-pitched campaign that saw BJP heavyweights such as Home Minister Amit Shah take to the streets to woo voters.

But exit polls predicted a big win for AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal, who has campaigned on education and healthcare.

The two-term chief minister has been credited with turning around Delhi’s government-run schools, establishing affordable neighbourhood clinics, and providing cheap water and electricity.

He has also consistently campaigned for greater autonomy for the state as control of its police force and land still rest with the federal government.

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Image caption

Delhi CM Mr Kejriwal is on the ballot for a third term

The BJP’s campaign, on the other hand, centred on a peaceful protest in Shaheen Bagh – a largely Muslim neighbourhood – against India’s controversial new citizenship law, known as the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

The BJP painted the protesters – largely comprising thousands of Muslim women – as dangerous traitors, who wanted nothing less than the fragmentation of the country. And they alleged that AAP was supporting them.

Two MPs campaigning for BJP were removed from a list of “star campaigners” for their comments, which included telling supporters to “shoot the traitors”.

“Polarisation is a tried and tested method that has won the BJP elections in the past. But the million dollar question is, will it also work in Delhi?” political commentator Neerja Chowdhury earlier told the BBC.

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