Lok Sabha Elections: National Capital's Voter Turnout Goes Down, Since 2014

Lok Sabha Elections: National Capital

Lok Sabha Elections: National Capital's Voter Turnout Goes Down, Since 2014

New Delhi: The National Capital had recorded a voter turnout of 60 per cent on Sunday, which is 5 per cent less than the polling percentage in 2014. Ranbir Singh, the Delhi's Chief Electoral Officer said that the turnout did not meet expectations considering the awareness campaigns his office had undertaken to draw voters to polling stations.

The Delhi's seven seats went to polls in the sixth phase of the Lok Sabha elections. Out of the total seats, Chandni Chowk and North East Delhi constituencies recorded over 62 per cent turnout while New Delhi, known for its VVIP voters, saw a turnout of 56.5 per cent.

The voting percentage for East Delhi is 61.5 per cent, North West Delhi is 59 per cent, South Delhi is 58 per cent and West Delhi is 60 per cent. Voting recorded till 6 pm was 60 per cent and the figure may slightly go up as polling continued at several places way beyond the deadline.

"There were queues outside polling station till 6 pm. Turnout is expected to cross 61 per cent by the end of the day" Mr Singh said.

Delhi has 1.43 crore voters and as many as 164 candidates were in the fray, including heavyweights like former chief minister Sheila Dikshit, Union minister Harsh Vardhan, Delhi BJP President Manoj Tiwari, ex-cricketer Gautam Gambhir and AAP's Atishi.

The Bhartiya Janata Party, Congress and AAP have all exuded the confidence of winning all the seven seats.

At the start of the day, the polling started at slow pace but picked up as the day progressed.

Several public figures including President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, exercised their franchise. The Vice President casted his vote after returning from a four-day trip to Vietnam.

Muslim voters turned out in large numbers, despite rigorous Ramzan fast and scorching heat.

Matia Mahal, Malviya Nagar, Tilak Nagar, Chandni Chowk were among the places which faced the issue of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) malfunctioning.

Delhi's Chief Electoral Officer said eight per cent of VVPATs were replaced during the day. As many as 778 Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail Machines (VVPAT), 141 control unit and 228 ballot units were replaced during mock polls in the morning. During polling, 450 VVPATs, 61 control units and 77 ballot units were replaced.

Many voters were disappointed after finding their names missing from the voter's list.  Mr Singh said he and his office had been asking people to check their names in voter lists for the last six months.

"Several awareness campaigns were carried out. They should have checked names before going to vote. If their names were not there they should have filled form 6. We were accepting forms till April 13," Mr Singh said.

In order to mantain, a peaceful election, over 60,000 security personnel, including Home Guard and paramilitary personnel, were deployed.

Around 523 polling locations were identified as critical, but no major reports of violence came. However, the Bhartiya Janata Party alleged that AAP's Kondli MLA Manoj Kumar slapped its party worker.

Raghav Chadha, the AAP's South Delhi candidate had accused BJP workers of rigging votes at a polling booth in Sangam Vihar, even as the poll body rejected his claim.

He alleged that the workers of BJP had colluded with the police and were casting their ballots again and again after removing the ink.

The Delhi Police Control Room had received more than 300 poll-related complaints.

Rahul Gandhi, the President of Congress party, after casting his vote had hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he "used hatred" during the elections but the Congress "used love".

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi used hatred, we used love. And, I think love is going to win," Mr Gandhi told reporters.

The Chief Minister of the national capital,  Arvind Kejriwal appealed to people to vote for those who have done work and not for those spreading "hatred" and "venom".

"Good morning Delhi. Please vote. Vote for those who have done your works. Don't vote for those who are spreading hatred and venom and also stopping Delhi's works. Your vote can change the country," Mr Kejriwal tweeted in Hindi.

(Inputs from news agency PTI)