Three hours after voting in MCD election began in Delhi on Sunday morning, the state election commission reported the voter turnout to be 7.67% across all polling booths. By 11 am, 5.66 lakh people had cast their votes with the highest turnout in north Delhi - 2.3 lakh of 49.5 lakh voters have chosen their candidates for North Delhi Municipal Corporation till now.
There are 1.3 crore registered voters for municipal election in Delhi. Only 1.16% voters had turned out at the polling booths in the first two hours. Though the start is slow, the poll panel is expecting up to 70% turnout this time. The MCD polls in 2012 had seen a turnout of 55% - the highest in 15 years.
Elections to the three municipal corporations in Delhi took off around 8 am with Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal being one of the first persons to be marked with the indelible ink at Masjid Moth polling booth in south Delhi.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal also showed up early at a polling booth in Civil Lines in north Delhi along with his family. “I appeal to people to come and vote in huge numbers for a Delhi that is free of dengue and chikungunya,” he said after casting his vote.
Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party is making a debut this time, making the municipal polls a tight triangular contest. With BJP winning the Rajouri Garden assembly bypoll earlier this month and Congress making a come back, AAP’s plans to sweep the polls face a tough fight.
In all, 18 parties are in the fray this time. Over 2,537 candidates are contesting the polls with as many as 1,174 of them fighting as independents.
People turning up to vote say issues, such as drinking water facilities, waste disposal, pollution, have been their main concerns and they hope for effective municipalities that can assure better basic amenities.
Ramesh Mandal, a resident of Pillanji village in south Delhi, said he expected as many facilities in his area as people living in government colonies in Sarojini Nagar nearby get.
Many senior citizens also cast their vote early as a matter of habit, they say. In Jungpura, 94-year-old Ratna Mahajan said mosquito breeding was a big problem in her locality. Senior citizens in Vikaspuri were moving around together while Mohinder SIngh in Tilak Nagar in west Delhi tried to vote but was turned away as his name was not in the voter list.
For the first time in MCD elections, None Of The Above (NOTA) option will be available. The results will be declared on April 26.
Meanwhile, Delhi Police said that it has already received at least 300 calls related to municipal elections till 11 am. One of the complaints was about a firing incident outside a booth at Dhansa in Najafgarh.