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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, October18: Delimitation of the municipal wards in the national capital is likely to be shortly notified, paving the way for the elections for the unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). There is a strong possibility that the MCD polls could coincide with the Gujarat Assembly elections.

The Election Commission has so far announced the date for the polling for the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections, which will be held on November 12, while the counting of votes will be taken up on December 8. Even while the polling booths in Himachal Pradesh are in far flung areas, with challenging logistics, the gap of almost four weeks is hard to explain.

There is a strong buzz in the high echelon of the Bharatiya Janata Party that the verdict of Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat would be declared on the same day. The Election Commission could announce the dates for the phased-polls in Gujarat for the last week of November.

The BJP leaders are of the views that the MCD elections at around the same time as the Gujarat Assembly polls would pin down Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Kejriwal and his full might of AAP machinery currently are camping in Gujarat. While pollsters have ruled out any significant impact of the AAP in the Gujarat polls, the BJP hopes to gain from the Kejriwal-led outfit’s divided attention to retain power in the MCD.

“Delimitation report is ready after listening to the objections to the draft report. It will be notified anytime soon. There is a strong likelihood of the MCD elections being held around the same time when Gujarat goes to the poll. This will be a disadvantage for the AAP, which has taken the Delhi cadre to Gujarat for canvassing,” said another senior BJP functionary.

The top brass of the BJP is wary of strong anti-incumbency against the party in the municipal corporations after several years of rule. The AAP on the other hand has a sweeping majority in the Delhi Assembly, which the party would seek to replicate in the unified municipal corporations.

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