New Delhi: 2,400 candidates will vie for voters’ attention in the capital on Sunday when Delhiites go out to vote for the municipal elections, an exercise tipped as a semi-final ahead of next year’s Assembly polls.

The polls to the 272 wards in the three civic bodies – East, North and South – carved out of the existing Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) will begin at 8 am and ends at 5:30 pm. The counting of votes will take place on Tuesday.

With campaigning ending at an unusual time of 5:30 am on Saturday, political parties and candidates, a large chunk of them Independents, spent a sleepless night wooing voters at the last minute.

The municipal polls is seen as crucial for Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Congress as well as opposition BJP with leaders believing that it could be an indicator for what is in store for the Assembly polls which is 18 months away.

BJP, which has 164 councillors in the undivided MCD against Congress’ 67 and BSP’s 17, harps on alleged corruption by Dikshit government while Congress is targeting the saffron party on its “inefficient and corrupt” administration in MCD.

The run-up to the polls also saw some embarrassment for BJP when one of its candidates, a sitting councillor, was arrested for allegedly murdering a partyman, who was opposed to him. Councillor Madhav Prasad was granted bail on Friday.

A total of 1.12 crore eligible voters will exercise their franchise in the polls which include 42.95 lakh voters in North Delhi Municipal Corporation, 42.67 lakh voters in South Delhi corporation and 27.16 lakh voters in East Delhi corporation.

There are 104 each wards in South and North Corporations and 64 in the East, of which 138 seats are reserved for women. South has the highest number of 904 candidates followed by North (885) and East (634).