NEW DELHI: Voting for 70 seats in the Delhi Assembly began on Saturday, February 8, in a slow pace. After two hours of polling, a meagre 4.33 per cent voter turnout was recorded till 10 am, according to Election Commission's Voter Turnout app.
The poll this year will see a triangular contest between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress. While the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (APP) is set to make a determined bid to return to power the BJP seeks for a win after losing to AAP in the 2013 and 2015 polls.
The Congress, which ruled Delhi for three consecutive terms from 1998 to 2013, is for the first time contesting the polls in alliance with another party, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) led by Bihar strongman Lalu Prasad Yadav.
Curiously, BJP's age-old ally, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), is not contesting along with the saffron party this time. Instead, the BJP has given these seats to JD (U) and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP).
In the 2015 Assembly polls, the AAP won 67 seats, leaving just three for the BJP. The term for the current Delhi Legislative Assembly ends on 22 February. Counting of votes will take place on February 11.
The voting began at 8 am in most booths in a peaceful manner. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal along with his family cast his vote at a polling booth in Civil Lines. In this constituency, he is pitted against BJP's Sunil Yadav and Congress's Romesh Sabharwal.
Speaking to reporters, Kejriwal said, "I appeal to all, especially to the women, to cast their votes today. I am hopeful that people of Delhi will vote on the basis of the work done. I am hopeful that Aam Aadmi Party will come back to power for the third time."
In an appeal on the voting day in Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged people to vote in record numbers. He urged the youth specifically to exercise its franchise.
Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said that "vibrations" and "sixth sense" told him his party would come to power in the capital. He added his mother, who had come from their village in Varanasi on 1 February for his birthday, was on a fast and had pledged to leave only after today's vote.
According to the data provided by the Election Commission, there are a total of 1,46,92,136 voters in Delhi, comprising of 80.55 lakh male and 66.35 lakh female population. There are 58 general category seats, 12 for Scheduled Castes and none for Scheduled Tribes in Delhi Assembly.
Voters are allowed to carry smart phones at polling stations in 11 assembly constituencies for accessing QR codes from the voters' helpline app in case they have not brought the voter's slip to the booth. The 11 constituencies are Sultanpur Majra, Seelampur, Ballimaran, Bijwasan, Trilokpuri, Shakur Basti, New Delhi, Rohtas Nagar, Chhatarpur, Rajouri Garden and Jangpura (with inputs from agencies).
Image Credit: Busisnesline