The municipal polls in Delhi is expected to be a three-way contest between AAP, Congress and BJP.
The Congress started with a rally at Delhi's Ramlila Maidan by Rahul Gandhi, AAP's Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has hit the ground running with corner meetings and the BJP, that has ruled the municipal corporation of Delhi (MCD) for a decade, has sounded the poll bugle too with a havan, or a sacred ritual, promising a high-decibel campaign that will see its central leaders on the national capital's streets.
For the Aam Aadmi Party that is coping with loss in Punjab and Goa, the MCD election on April 22
is a litmus test of 2 years
of its governance in Delhi, and more. A good performance in this election will send a message that Delhi - which gave the party 67 out of 70 seats in 2015 - doesn't regret the choice two years later, and the AAP's Delhi Government had delivered on its mandate.
Mr Sisodia has already started going for door-to-door campaigns and addressing party workers. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal - who recently reached out to supporters
to ask them not to lose heart with the party's performance in the two states, Punjab and Goa
- will soon join him over the next 10 days.
It is no less prestigious for the BJP which scored its second consecutive win in 2012 when the monolithic MCD was split into three; North Delhi (104 seats), South Delhi (104 seats) and East Delhi (64 seats). In all, there are 272 municipal seats, or wards.
The BJP, which had the largest number of sitting municipal councillors has decided against fielding them again
, an attempt to neutralise the anti-incumbency. The party has entrusted three union ministers to oversee the campaign in the three corporations - Nirmala Sitharaman for South, Sanjeev Balyan for North and Jitendra Singh for East. Plus, it has planned a road show by BJP chief Amit Shah.
"We will show people no dynasty, caste or religion-based politics will happen in Delhi... Development is the only agenda" said the Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari.
Congress hopes the municipal election will be an opportunity to regain lost ground in Delhi and wants to rope in Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh to help them beat AAP in the party's home ground. "We will call the bluff of AAP," said Haroon Yusuf of Congress Party.