New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) clean sweeped Haryana Municipal Elections 5-0 on Wednesday. Counting of votes in the five municipal corporations and two municipal committees in Haryana began in the morning. The win comes as a major boost for the saffron party after the major defeat in the recently held assembly elections.Also Read - Haryana Municipal Corporation And Mayor Election Results 2018: Complete List of Winners

BJP’s Avneet won from Panipat against Anshu Pahwa by a margin of 74,000 votes. Earlier, Haryana Chief Minister ML Khattar had credited government’s policies and party hard work for the unprecedented mandate BJP has received in civic polls. Talking to reporters, Khattar said, “This win in mayoral elections of BJP is a win of the Government’s policies and the party’s hard work, especially in Panipat where our candidate won by a massive margin.” Also Read - Haryana Municipal Corporation Election 2018 Result LIVE Updates: BJP Wins Mayoral Polls in All Five Districts

The election in Rohtak, Karnal, Hisar, Panipat and Yamunanagar were held on Sunday. The election for the ward councillor polls for two Municipal committees — Jakhal Mandi and Pundri were also held. Also Read - Haryana Municipal Committees Election Results 2018 LIVE Updates: Counting Underway, BJP Trailing in Jakhal Mandi

In a first, the mayors of the five municipal corporations are being elected directly. Earlier, the councillors used to elect the mayor.

Ahead of next year’s Lok Sabha and Assembly polls, prestige is at stake for the ruling BJP, which is contesting the civic polls on party symbol. Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has campaigned extensively for party nominees in these polls.

Opposition INLD-BSP too has fielded its candidates in these polls. While the Congress has chosen not to use party symbol to contest the polls, it is lending support to some Independents who are in the fray.

In Karnal, Khattar’s home constituency, increasing problems of saffron party candidate Renu Bala Gupta, Opposition parties INLD-BSP and the Congress have joined hands throwing their weight behind Independent candidate Asha Wadhwa.

The Congress and Aam Aadmi Party have announced not to contest MC polls on their symbol. However, they are offering support to the Independent candidates in the fray.

In a significant move, the Haryana Election Commission has decided to treat ‘none-of-the-above’ or NOTA option as a fictional candidate in upcoming municipal polls, making it must for winning candidates to secure more votes than those cast for NOTA.

NOTA will be treated as a fictional electoral candidate. If in the election, all the contesting candidates individually receive fewer votes than those cast for the fictional candidate, NOTA, none of the candidates will be declared elected. The polls will be cancelled and held afresh,” Haryana Election Commissioner Dalip Singh said on November 22.