- BJP could get 55 seats, says its Manoj Tiwari, ups earlier estimate
- AAP took a big lead over BJP in early leads as counting began
- A party needs 36 seats for a majority in the Delhi assembly
Ahead of the counting of votes for the Delhi election, Manoj Tiwari, the BJP's Delhi chief, exuded confidence that the party would come to power after winning "up to 55 seats" in the 70-member assembly.
"We will win 48-plus seats. I will not be surprised even if we win 55," Manoj Tiwari told reporters, rejecting exit poll predictions of Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) winning a third straight term.
"It's time for exact polls after exit polls," quipped the actor-singer turned politician.
Mr Tiwari said BJP workers were prepping for celebrations.
"Everyone should accept the mandate and no one should blame Electronic Voting Machines, whatever the result," said the Delhi MP, who is seen to be among the party's chief ministerial candidates in case of a BJP victory.
The BJP's confidence in the face of exit polls predicting a clear AAP victory with around 53 seats, led to Mr Kejriwal alleging attempts to tamper with voting machines and even raising questions about the delay by the Election Commission in announcing the turnout.
The BJP is believed to be banking on a last-minute surge in voting, which, the party feels, will work in its favour.
On the day of voting, after the exit poll predictions, Mr Tiwari had tweeted: "All these exit polls will fail. Save this tweet. BJP will form a government in Delhi with 48 seats. Don't look for an excuse to blame EVMs."
An aggregate of the exit polls predicted that AAP will win around 53 seats and the BJP, 16. The Congress was given just one.
A health warning - exit polls often get it wrong. A party needs 36 in the Delhi assembly for a majority.
Delhi saw an acrimonious and polarizing campaign revolving around the Shaheen Bagh protest against the citizenship law.
This election is Delhi's first since massive protests erupted nearly two months ago over the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which, critics say, violates India's secular constitution and discriminates against Muslims.