Lok Sabha polls: 64 per cent turnout in Delhi, may rise higher

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Apr 11 2014, 01:17am hrs
An impressive 64 per cent turnout was recorded in Lok Sabha polls for the seven seats in the coluntry's capital where BJP is seeking victory riding on 'Modi wave' and AAP and Congress posing a challenge by promising good governance and development.

Delhi Election Commission officials said around 64 per cent of 1.27 crore eligible voters exercised their franchise till 6 pm 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 per cent, which had increased to 66 per cent in the 2013 Delhi assembly election in December last year.

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.

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 polls in the next few months. BJP may prefer going to assembly polls early if it puts up a good show in the Lok Sabha polls.

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.

All the three key players BJP, Congress and AAP claimed they will win all the seven seats.

Talking to reporters Maken, who is contesting from the prestigious New Delhi constituency, exuded confidence of regaining support of Congress supporters who, he said, had favoured AAP in assembly polls four months back.

"People who voted for Arvind Kejriwal were traditional Congress voters who will vote for us this time. We will win all seven seats. There is no Modi wave," Maken told reporters.

AAP's Arvind Kejriwal also claimed his party will all the seven seats.

After casting his vote at a polling booth near his residence in Tilak Lane, Kejriwal claimed Congress has already accepted defeat while BJP's Narendra Modi was thinking that he had become the Prime Minister.

A total of 150 candidates are in the fray. The polling began at 7 AM. There were some reports of malfunctioning of electronic voting machines (EVM) in some parts of outer Delhi but they were rectified, election officials said.

The Election Commission said polling has been peacefull across the city as no untoward incident has been reported.

The Commission had made elaborate security arrangements as it had deployed nearly 50,000 security personnel, apart from 161 flying squads of police and video surveillance teams.