President Ram Nath Kovind and his wife Savita Kovind showing the mark of indelible ink after casting their votes, at a polling booth, at Dr. Rajendra Prasad Kendriya Vidyalaya, Rashtrapati Bhawan complex, in New Delhi on Saturday. (R) Interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi after casting her vote at a polling station in New Delhi on Saturday. (ANI)
NEW DELHI :
Counting of votes will be done on Feb 11
DELHI recorded a voter turnout of 61.46 per cent in the Assembly election, the polling for which was held on Saturday, according to the Election Commission officials. The polling went off peacefully, Delhi Chief Electoral Officer Ranbir Singh told reporters. The counting of votes will be done on February 11. In the 2015 Assembly elections, the national capital had recorded a voter turnout of 67.47 per cent. Over 60,000 security personnel, including Quick Response Teams, had been deployed for the election while police and paramilitary forces conducted flag marches in sensitive areas.
The voting percentage was 57.04 till 6 pm deadline, and rose to 61.46 per cent as those in queues at polling stations were allowed to vote, poll officials said, adding it may increase further. The officials said Mustafabad (66.29 per cent), Matia Mahal (65.62 per cent) and Seelampur (64.92 per cent) -- all three with large Muslim population -- recorded the highest voting percentage till 5 pm. Long queues were seen outside polling stations in areas like Jaffrabad, Jamia Nagar, Turkman Gate and Shaheen Bagh which have been witnessing protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). In the 11 districts in the national capital, north-east recorded 65.24 per cent turn out, Northwest (62.23 per cent), south (59.65 per cent), central (58.57 per cent), south-west 61.57 (per cent), east (61.29 per cent), west (61.79 per cent), north (57.19 per cent), New Delhi (56.10 per cent), Shahadra (62.96 per cent) and south-east (54.89 per cent). Polling started at a sluggish pace and the voting percentage was low till noon. However, it picked up pace as the day grew warmer.
A senior Delhi poll official said the lower turnout compared to 67.47 per cent in the 2015 Assembly polls could be attributed to the polling day falling on a weekend as a section of people may have gone out of the city. The voting percentage was 60.6 in 2019 Lok Sabha election. A poll officer died apparently due to a heart condition at a polling booth at Babarpur, just before the voting began, Singh said. Free electricity and water, development, jobs, national security and CAA were among the key issues on the minds of Delhiites in the polls where 672 candidates were in the fray in 70 Assembly seats. Sonakshi Ranjan (22), a first-time voter, said she opted for development while casting her vote.
S C Sharma (74), a voter in Kalkaji constituency, said he voted for development and national security. After the polls ended, BJP President J P Nadda held a meeting with party’s Delhi unit leaders and took stock of the situation. There were some complaints related to VVPAT slips. Congress’ New Delhi candidate Romesh Sabharwal said VVAPT slips did not show his name and photo. Chief Electoral Officer Ranbir Singh said that Voter-VVPAT failure was only one per cent this time.
Police said over 200 calls related to election complaints were received at the Delhi Police’s control room on the polling day. First time voters and women turned out in large numbers. More than 60 centenarians voted in the assembly polls, Singh said.President Ram Nath Kovind, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, West Delhi MP Parvesh Verma and Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari also exercised their franchise.
Union Ministers S Jaishankar and Hardeep Singh Puri were also among those who cast their votes. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal voted at Rajpur Transport Authority polling station in the Civil Lines area. Kejriwal, who is contesting the polls from the New Delhi constituency, was accompanied by his wife Sunita and son Pulkit. Before leaving for voting, he sought his parents’ blessings. Former Vice President Hamid Ansari and senior RSS functionary Ram Lal were among those who queued up outside the Nirman Bhavan polling station in the first hour of voting. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s son Rehan and Kejriwal’s son Pulkit were among first-time voters. Asked if his father will be the CM again, Pulkit said whoever people choose will become the chief minister of Delhi.