New Delhi, Feb 8 : Polling for the 70- member high-octane Delhi assembly elections on Saturday is witnessing a sharp drop in voter's attendance in comparison to the last Assembly polls of 2015. The voting, which had commenced at 0800 hrs in the morning, is gradually picking up the pace. This year, the voter turnout, till 1500 hrs has been estimated at 30 per cent while in 2015 it was estimated at 36 per cent and that too till only 1300 hrs.
According to some observers, the voter turnout is being considered very important in these elections, as it can change poll prospects of any candidate. Braving cold weather conditions, voters had lined-up before 0700 hrs at several polling booths across the national capital, to cast their votes. Long queues were seen outside several polling booths.
The prominent people including President Ram Nath Kovind, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Lt Governor Anil Baijal, Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi, party's general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, party leader Rahul Gandhi, former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Senior BJP leader L K Advani exercised their franchise for the Assembly polls. BJP MPs-Meenakshi Lekhi, Gautam Gambhir, Parvesh Verma and Vijay Goel also cast their vote.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora cast his vote at Nirman Bhawan in New Delhi assembly constituency. Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra and his wife Neelu Chandra also cast their vote. Contesting candidates reached early to perform their democratic duty. Congress candidate from the Chandni Chowk assembly constituency, Alka Lamba cast her vote at Tagore Garden Extension. Ms Lamba, who left AAP, joined Congress in October in 2019.
AAP candidate from Rajinder Nagar, Raghav Chadha also casts his vote at a polling station in Rajinder Nagar. Raihan Rajiv Vadra, son of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Robert Vadra who is a first-time voter, cast his vote on Saturday and said it is a nice feeling to take part in the democratic process. Bollywood actor Taapsee Pannu cast her vote for the Delhi Assembly elections 2020 along with her family, and said that every vote counts. Earlier in the day, Congress candidate from Chandni Chowk Alka Lamba allegedly tried to slap an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) worker at a polling booth after he was accused of 'misbehaving' with her.
The incident happened in her constituency when she came to cast her vote. In another incident, an election officer, who was deployed at a polling booth in Babarpur Primary School in northeast Delhi, died of a 'cardiac arrest' on Saturday, election office sources told UNI. Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged people of the national capital to vote in record numbers for the Delhi Assembly polls. 'Today is polling day for Delhi Assembly elections. I appeal to all the electorate to turn out in large numbers to take part in the democratic process and make a new record", he tweeted. He specifically urged the youth to exercise their franchise.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal made a special appeal to women to exercise their right to franchise in large numbers for the Assembly polls. "Just as you bear the responsibility of your home, bear the responsibility of the country and Delhi. All women must go to vote and take the men of their houses too," Aam Aadmi Party national convener tweeted.
Make sure to discuss it with men which party would be right to vote for, his tweet added. For the polls, the security arrangements have been stepped up across the city to thwart any untoward incident. Central Armed Police Forces have also been deployed. Senior police officials from various units have been drafted for the special poll duties.
The police have laid special emphasis for security over the sensitive stir hit zones that have been witnessing protests and unrest from the past two months, while monitoring of many areas is also being carried out using drones. Around 1.47 crore eligible voters of Delhi will elect representatives from 672 candidates. The voting which commenced at 8 am will end at 6pm and the results of the polls will be announced on February 11. (UNI)