Ahead of the counting of votes for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday exuded hope that the tide will turn in its favour even as the Aam Aadmi Party claimed a "landslide" victory as predicted by exit polls.
The exit polls on Monday showed that the AAP was going to sweep the MCD polls by winning more than 150 of the 250 municipal wards with the BJP emerging a distant second.
The results will be announced after counting of polled votes on all the 250 municipal wards on Wednesday. Voting for MCD elections was held on Sunday.
The AAP leaders, who are in an upbeat mood after positive predictions, also claimed that the party will do better than exit poll trends.
"We are expecting better results than what the exit polls predicted. These exit polls also show that people have rejected all the allegations leveled by the BJP (against AAP) and have voted for good work," Durgesh Pathak, AAP's MCD poll in-charge, told PTI.
AAP's national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal thanked people as exit polls predicted a massive win for the party.
"I would like to congratulate the people of Delhi. They have again showed their faith in us. Let's wait for tomorrow (Wednesday)," he told reporters on the sidelines of an event.
A sombre mood prevailed at the Delhi BJP office ahead of the results, where the party leaders hoped that the exit polls will be proved wrong during the counting of votes.
"We have hope that the results will prove the exit polls wrong and the BJP will return back to rule the MCD. However, we will accept whatever the results are," said Delhi BJP general secretary Dinesh Pratap Singh.
Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said it would be too early to give in to the survey predictions.
"Wait till tomorrow. I am very hopeful that our results will be far better," he said.
In case it loses the MCD polls, the BJP's era of 15 years rule at the civic body will come to an end. The defeat will also dent party's expectations to weaken the Kejriwal-led AAP's political dominance in Delhi and further diminish its chances in the 2025 assembly polls.
For AAP, a clear victory in the MCD elections will be yet another example of its sway over Delhi and will also serve as a consolation since the exit polls have also predicted that the party's hopes of victory in the Gujarat assembly polls are likely to fail this time.
"The AAP is going to register a landslide victory in MCD polls. It will be a message to the whole country that the AAP is a dead honest party," senior AAP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said.
A defeat, which seems unlikely in the light of exit poll predictions, will, however, jolt the AAP that registered massive victories in Delhi assembly polls in 2015 and 2020.
The third main contender in the fray, the Congress, too hoped to prove the exit polls wrong on Wednesday.
"The exit poll surveys will be proven wrong very soon. Our party has done the groundwork and according to the internal survey of the party, the Congress is winning 60-70 seats," Delhi Congress president Anil Chaudhary said.
The MCD exit polls have foretold the Congress's victory in less than 10 wards.
Delhi Congress' media department coordinator Anil Bhardwaj asserted that the party will do "much better" than its performance in the previous polls.
"Our vote share will be better than the previous elections. The Party's internal survey is good but doesn't match with the exit poll predictions," he said.
The Congress that ruled Delhi under the chief ministership of Sheila Dikshit for 15 years has seen its political space being occupied by the AAP after 2013. The party failed to win even a single seat in Delhi in two Lok Sabha and Assembly elections each, between 2014 to 2020.
The BJP trounced both the AAP and the Congress by winning 181 of 272 wards of the three municipal corporations in the 2017 elections. The AAP in its civic polls debut won 48 and the Congress 30 wards.
Earlier this year, the Centre merged the three municipal corporations into MCD having a total 250 wards.