India’s election commission has begun counting votes and releasing early trends for state elections in the capital, Delhi.
Early trends showed the governing Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) pulling ahead of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which ran a high-decibel campaign.
AAP, a relatively young political outfit, has been praised for its focus on education and development.
Trends so far are in in line with exit polls that said it would win.
Polling took place on 8 February, with a voter turnout of around 61%.
The battle for Delhi is largely symbolic. Unlike other states, its local government does not have full administrative powers.
In its last term, AAP, led by its charismatic chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, constantly campaigned for greater autonomy for the state. Control of its police force, land, and law and order rests with the federal government.
Despite this, the election campaign was bitterly fought and often turned ugly.
The focus of the BJP campaign centred on a peaceful protest against a controversial citizenship law in Shaheen Bagh – a Muslim-dominated neighbourhood in the city.
The BJP painted the protesters – largely comprising thousands of Muslim women – as dangerous traitors, who wanted nothing less than the fragmentation of the country.
They alleged that they were being supported by the AAP.
Two MPs campaigning for the party were removed from a list of “star campaigners” for their comments, which included telling supporters to “shoot the traitors”.
Days after, a man went into the area and shot three times into the air, after shouting at the protesters to disperse.
“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.
AAP largely focused on the work it had carried out in the state, which included raising the quality of government schools and providing cheaper healthcare, power and water.