No, we weren’t glued to TV on Saturday
The city recorded high voter turnout for the 2008 Assembly polls. As per the election office, by late evening almost 60 per cent had cast their votes, report HT Correspondents.delhi Updated: Nov 30, 2008 00:23 IST
The city recorded high voter turnout for the 2008 Assembly polls on Saturday. As per the election office, by late evening almost 60 per cent had cast their votes. The Mumbai terror attack seemed to have forced voters to come out and express their dissatisfaction.
The only other time the turnout crossed 60 per cent was in 1993, when BJP swept the polls. The turnout then was 61.75 per cent. “People who have been sitting at home, watching the terror attack on Mumbai on television for the last two days, may have been affected. They came out and voted very aggressively. That is not good. More than anti-incumbency, terror has been a factor after Wednesday’s attack,” said a highly placed source in the Congress.
The steady stream of voters at places that are not known as high turnout polling centres could be a gauge for the zeal of people. “We have a wedding in our family today, but my parents insisted we vote. My cousin, the bride, also cast her vote in Rohini,” said Priya Bhardwaj, who had come to cast her vote at Shalimar Bagh.
Delhi’s Chief Electoral Officer Satbir Silas Bedi said southwest Delhi recorded highest polling in Delhi. Over 63 per cent cast their vote here. In southeast Delhi, however, only 55 per cent polling was recorded, which is the lowest in the city, Bedi said. Among urban areas, Jangpura recorded the highest polling at 59.9 per cent.
Apart from terrorism, inflation also played spoilsport for the ruling party. “The government has not been able to take care of the poor. We normally do not receive the grains at subsidised rates meant for us,” said Prabha Devi, a Kirari resident.
The polling process was still on at the Keshavpuram and Bhatti Mines assembly seats. It is possible that the final figure may go beyond the 60 per cent mark, poll officials said.
Yogendra Yadav of Centre for Study of Developing Societies, said the high turnout could not be linked to the poll results immediately. “There is no research evidence to establish a direct link between poll turnout and the nature of the outcome,” said Yadav.
The BJP has been claiming that the high voter turnout spells good news for it. “We are in a comfortable position. I have spoken to all the party candidates and they are very optimistic of sailing through smoothly. Also, the fact that the voter turnout has been over 60 per cent will also go in our favour,” said Dr Harsh Vardhan, BJP state president.
It was for the first time that BJP decided to fight Assembly elections focusing on national issues like terrorism and inflation. The gambit was criticised by Congress, but in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attack, it might actually work in BJP’s favour. Vardhan said that the party was optimistic of winning at least 45 seats.
Congress state chief Jai Prakash Aggarwal, however, said, “I don’t think high turnout spells comfortable margins for BJP. It could also mean that people have voted for the Congress track record in development,” said Aggarwal.
Congress and BJP sources had earlier concurred independently that if the turnout crossed 60 per cent, it might hurt the chances of the ruling party.