After 15 years of disinterest, Delhi voted this time -— and how. The final figures released by the State Election Commission (SEC) on Sunday’s elections to the trifurcated Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) put the voter turnout at a good 55 per cent.
The highest polling percentage in civic elections in the last 15 years, the turnout showed the voter awareness campaigns initiated by the commission and RWAs worked quite well.
While South Delhi’s GK-I registered the lowest voter turnout at 37 per cent, Bakhtawarpur in North Delhi registered the highest polling at 69per cent.
Of the three corporations, East Delhi saw the maximum voter turnout. East Delhi Corporation recorded a polling percentage of 57 per cent followed by North Delhi Corporation at 55per cent. South Delhi Corporation polled 53 per cent votes.
Of the 1.15 crore registered voters, 61 lakh people voted on Sunday compared to 42.35 lakh of a total of around 99 lakh in the 2007 municipal elections. This year, the increase in the total number of registered voters over 2007 was 16 lakh. The overall voting percentage was 42 per cent in 2007, 52 per cent in 2002, and 41 per cent in 1997.
The turnout, described as “impressive” by the commission, however, did not cross the anticipated 60 per cent.
This rise in percentage could be attributed to the relentless campaign undertaken by the SEC as well as resident welfare associations of the city.
The SEC had made relentless efforts, including a 'Be Dabangg, Be a voter' campaign, as part of its drive to motivate voters to turn out in large numbers.
State Election Commissioner Rakesh Mehta said voters were fully aware of the MCD polls and the campaign to increase the turnout had an impact. "RWAs also tried their best. Despite the 55 per cent turnout, the results were not up to our expectations. The boycott in three villages also had its impact. But it is heartening as this is the highest in 15 years," he said.
Mehta said, “Delhiites who cast their votes played the ‘Dabangg’ role. But in certain posh areas, the people became ‘Pappu’.” He said the SEC spent around R50 crore for the election campaign. The RWAs also conducted awareness and ‘meet the candidate’ campaigns to encourage more people to vote.
Counting of votes for 272 wards will take place in 33 centres across the capital on Tuesday amid tight security. Results are expected by 3 pm, a senior SEC official said. 2,423 candidates are in the fray.
In the 2007 polls of the undivided municipal corporation, the BJP had bagged 36.17 per cent of the around 42.35 lakh votes polled while Congress got 29.17 per cent. The BSP's vote share was 9.87 per cent.