Elections held in Delhi see record turnout

Fiercely fought election sees record 67 percent turnout in Delhi.

Elections held in Delhi see record turnout

 

World Bulletin / News Desk

Elections in India to the 70 seats of the Delhi State Assembly held Saturday saw a record 67 percent turnout, the Chief Election Commissioner said.

The fate of 673 candidates has been sealed in the electronic voting machines all over the Indian capital state.

Markets, offices and restaurants were closed and traffic on the streets was light as people headed to polling booths, set up mostly in neighborhood schools, for the most high-profile state election in the country.

“A total of 55,000 policemen and paramilitary soldiers will be deployed on the roads and polling booths to ensure security,” said BS Bassi, Delhi Police Commissioner. For the last three days armed soldiers were manning check posts along with Delhi Police and traffic police.

At polling booths, police did not allow even mobile phones inside. It was a designated holiday in Delhi for people to be able to come out and vote.

For some, like Tirath Singh, who works as a security guard in Matiala, Delhi's largest constituency, it was vote early and head to work. “It was a long queue, and we lined up according to the four blocks in my colony; I got there at 7:30 and waited for 90 minutes,” said Singh. “My vote was for the broom,” he adds, referring to the Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) election symbol.

“This time, almost everyone in my neighborhood is voting for the broom; the wind is blowing in the AAP direction,” added Singh.

On the street, Delhi seems divided on economic lines in these elections. The lower middle class of Delhi seem to have thrown their weight behind the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP.

The low water and power rates and no corruption and bribes are a simple but powerful vote message. Riyaz Ali, a vegetable vendor, will vote for the AAP: “For the first time in my life I saw days when I took home all I had earned; the police stopped taking their weekly cut,” he said, referring to the 49 day AAP government days in 2014.

Auto-rickshaw (tuk-tuk) drivers, cycle-rickshaw drivers, fruit and vegetable sellers, the real working class of the city proudly wear the white Gandhi cap of the Aam Aadmi Party with the broom symbol.

Among the middle class, there is some support for the AAP rival Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP). “The vote is for (Prime Minister) Modi, A BJP government here will be my choice, the center and the state both working as one,” said Raghav Salgotra, who will faithfully vote for his chosen party.

In Matiala, at the apartment complex where Tirath Singh stands guard, Vinod Dangi has just come back after casting his vote. “Kejriwal is just a drama queen,” says Dangi, making his choice clear.

For Mrs Agarwal, who lives in the same building, the choice was the AAP and its candidate. She supports the AAP for bringing up the basic issues of inflation and security.

At the halfway mark at 1 p.m., only 34 percent of the 13.3-million electorate had voted. There were long queues at some polling stations in the morning and enthusiasm among voters was high. 

The ex-Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party chief, Arvind Kejriwal was one of the early voters. Kejriwal had spent a relaxed day on Friday, with no campaigning allowed a day before the polls. Newspaper pictures Saturday showed him getting a shave and haircut from a neighborhood barber, in tune with his common man image.

By 5 p.m., 63.5 percent of voters had cast their vote.

Everyone's now awaits counting which will take place on 10th February and results for all the 70 seats will be declared.

 

Last Mod: 08 Şubat 2015, 10:40
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