New Delhi: A turnout of 60.21 per cent was recorded in elections for Delhi’s seven parliamentary constituencies on Sunday amid reports of EVM malfunctioning in some polling stations, the Election Commission said.
The polling percentage was less then that in 2014 when the national capital had seen 65.1 per cent voter turnout.
The voting in the city, in the penultimate of the seven-phase elections, has sealed the fate of 164 candidates of various political parties including former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, state BJP chief Manoj Tiwari, cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir (BJP) and boxer Vijender Singh (Congress) has been sealed in EVMs.
Voting started on a slow note but picked up later during the day with the senior citizens and first-time voters among the city’s 1.43-strong electorate showing a lot of enthusiasm and coming out to vote in large numbers.
There were reports of EVM malfunctioning from some of the polling stations in Matia Mahal, Chandni Chowk, Tilak Nagar and some others which were later addressed by the Election Commission officials.
Many voters in some areas of West and East Delhi constituencies went back without voting as their names were missing from the voting list.
Former cricketer Bishan Singh Bedi’s name was also missing from the voters list and he complained that polling officials, instead of addressing his issue, were “busy taking selfies”.
The highest polling was registered in North East Delhi at 63.45 per cent, followed by Chandni Chowk (62.69) and East Delhi (61.95). The turnout in other constituencies – West Delhi, New Delhi, South Delhi and North West Delhi – was 60.64 per cent, 56.47, 57.3 and 58.99 respectively.
President Ram Nath Kovind, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Union Minister Sheila Dikshit, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, his sister and Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi were among the prominent figures who voted in the sixth and penultimate round of the Lok Sabha elections.
While Kejriwal voted with his wife after urging voters to reject “hatred”, Rahul Gandhi, after casting his ballot in the New Delhi constituency, accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of injecting hatred in the Lok Sabha election battle while the Congress spread love and said “love is going to win”.
A group of third genders from Rajasthan visited his residence to wish him and his party victory in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari, BJP’s East Delhi candidate Gambhir and AAP’s Atishi were among the early voters. The early voters also included BJP MPs from West Delhi and New Delhi, Pravesh Verma and Meenakshi Lekhi, both of whom are seeking a re-election.
In spite of the intense heat and day-long fasts observed during the ongoing holy month of Ramzan, a huge number of first time voters and Muslims came out to exercise their franchise.
Ramzan, when Muslims observe a total fast, coincided with the polling in Delhi but did not seem to deter voters in the Chandni Chowk area of the old city, save in the early hours. However, as the day progressed, people came out to cast their votes and numbers started increasing in the evening.
Senior citizens, who have seen the rise and fall of various leaders and the change over from the ballot paper to EVMs, were elated to exercise their franchise despite the intense heat. According to an official, 40 per cent of the senior citizens, they had identified over 100 years, cast their votes.
Inspiring others, Delhi’s oldest voter, 111-year old Bachan Singh cast his vote at a polling booth in West Delhi’s Tilak Nagar.
Singh arrived at the Sant Garh polling booth in a wheel chair and was greeted by his relatives and well-wishers, some of whom even offered him bouquets.
First-time voters also turned up in quite few numbers at polling stations across the national capital and shared photos showing the indelible ink mark on their fingers that denoted they had voted on various social media platforms.
The seven-phase Lok Sabha elections started on April 11 and will end on May 19. The vote count will take place on May 23.