Delhi records 64% voter turnout till 6pm
An impressive 64% voter turnout was recorded in Lok Sabha elections for the seven seats in Delhi where Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is seeking victory riding on “Modi wave” and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Congress posing a challenge by promising good governance and development.
Delhi Election Commission (EC) officials said around 64% of 1.27 crore eligible voters exercised their franchise till 6pm and the polling percentage may go up as thousands of people are still queuing up in various areas of the city even after the deadline for voting ended.
In 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the overall voting percentage was recorded at 52.3%, which had increased to 66% in the 2013 Delhi assembly election in December.
The high-octane campaign for the polls saw BJP, AAP and Congress engaging in a close fight to win the seven seats—considered prestigious due to political symbolism.
The prominent contenders in the fray include Union ministers Kapil Sibal and Krishna Tirath, Delhi BJP chief Harsh Vardhan, Congress’ Ajay Maken, Sandeep Dikshit, Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, journalist-turned-politician Ashutosh and BJP’s Meenakshi Lekhi.
India’s Vice President Hamid Ansari, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal were among the early voters. The election results is likely to set the stage for possible assembly elections in the next few months.
BJP may prefer going to assembly polls early if it puts up a good show in the Lok Sabha elections. The Lok Sabha poll mandate will also reflect AAP’s support base in Delhi amidst perceived disillusionment among middle-class voters who had helped the party to make a spectacular debut in assembly polls just five months ago.
Congress has also tried to regain its support base through a series of initiatives in the last four months following its crushing defeat in the assembly polls in which it got just 8 seats.
India’s total voter turnout has remained under 60% for the past two general elections—58.19% in 2009 and 58.07% in 2004. High turnouts are usually taken to be a a sign of anti-incumbency by psephologists and political experts, which is expected to be one of the most critical electoral issue in the Lok Sabha elections where the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance is seeking a third term.