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Delhi does it

delhi Updated: May 08, 2009 02:09 IST

Delhi didn’t do a Mumbai. It did not stay home. It did not just talk. It voted. The turnout in the Capital was 53 per cent, said the election office. This was quite good, Delhi — the highest in 20 years. Congrats.

It polled 12 per cent more than the shame of Elections 2009, Mumbai, the city that failed to match the hype of its wake-up-and-vote talk starting after the 26/11 attacks that killed 173 people. The turnout was only 41 per cent.

Delhi walked the talk, proved it’s not a city of Pappus, an idiot who doesn’t vote and who was the subject of a campaign run by Chief Electoral Officer Satbir Silas Bedi asking people not to be like him.

"Although we would have liked more people to vote, seeing the pattern in other metro cities, we are satisfied,” Bedi said, adding, “Our campaign impacted urban voters and they came out in large numbers.”

“I’d give a lot of credit to the election office,” said Sanjay Kumar of the Centre for Study of Developing Societies. “There were lots of educational ads on voting. The media, NGOs and political parties also played a persuasive role.”

Polling for the seven Delhi Lok Sabha constituencies began on Thursday, with morning walkers dropping by on their way home mostly. It picked up after breakfast and peaked after lunch. It wasn’t very hot and that helped.

But for Ananya Sharma, a Greater Kailash I voter, it was neither about Pappu nor the weather. “Voting is not just a right, but also a duty. It should be made mandatory.”

Advani, 82, made a case for it recently.

It’s not mandatory yet but NK Grover, 84, of Malcha Marg has voted in every general election. “If you don’t vote, you have no right to crib. If somebody like me can turn up for voting, definitely youngsters can also do so.”

A lot of youngsters were seen in queues all over the city. The exact numbers or percentages won’t be known for while, but there was plenty of anecdotal evidence. Some of them came with their families, others on their own.

“I thought this election was very important because we need a government that can protect us from the economic crisis prevailing in the West,” said Praveen Srivastava, 31, a BPO manager who lives in Janak Puri.

The votes are all in now and the fates of the 160 candidates in fray are now locked up in the electronic voting machines for counting on May 16. What will be the score – seven to one in favour of the Congress as in the last Lok Sabha?

The result will be interesting as the trend so far is that whichever party gets Delhi, gets the country. The Congress had six of the seven seats in 2004 and had a government at the centre. BJP won all seven before that and ruled the country.
So, who will get Delhi this time?