Delhi broke all previous polling records on Saturday with a voter turnout of more than 67.10%, despite the city going to polls for the third time in 14 months. After a year of uncertainty and a political vacuum, the electorate of Delhi, it appears, wanted to give a decisive mandate this time. More than 89 lakh people voted on Sunday, the largest number of Delhiites to have ever voted for any election in Delhi. The highest record for voter turnout recorded in Delhi was 69.49% in the 1967 Lok Sabha polls. In spite of earlier predictions of light rain, it was a sunny day and Delhiites came out in droves.
While the first two hours of polling began saw a meagre turnout, the figure spiked later in the day with more than half the electorate exercising their franchise by 3pm. No voter fatigue While there were fears of voter fatigue setting in with elections happening in quick succession, Delhiites proved such fears to be wrong.
“Increase in voting percentage this time despite three back-to-back elections clearly indicate that the voters this time were quite clear in their preference for the party and voted decisively,” said Ravi Ranjan of University of Delhi’s Developing Countries Research Centre. “The constituencies where voting percentage has crossed 70% would see a very close fight between the candidates and the result would be decided by just couple of thousand of votes,” he said.
East tops chart
Northeast Delhi, as always, stole the march over other areas in Delhi with the highest turnout of 69.87% for the district. The two constituencies with highest turnout — Gokalpur (73.46%) and Seempuri (72.89%) — are part of this constituency.
The New Delhi district recorded the lowest turnout of 64.16%. Constituencies with middle-class residential areas such as Jangpura (64.14%), New Delhi (64.28%) and RK Puram (63.74%) witnessed comparatively lower turnout. Okhla saw the lowest turnout in the New Delhi district at 60.01%. Upper middle class areas such Defence Colony and Greater Kailash, however, saw high turnouts.
Commenting on the turnout in Okhla constituency, Aamir Hussain, who was standing outside a polling booth in Gaffar Manzil said, “This area is Congress bastion with several loyalist voters; and with the party’s poor show being sure in this poll, voters are not very enthusiastic on coming out and voting.”
Constituencies that are Muslim-dominated, such as Seelampur, Mustafabad, Ballimaran, Matia Mahal, etc. also saw a high turnout, which could be a vote against the sitting MLAs of these areas.
Constituencies in rural parts of Outer Delhi, such as Bawana (61.46%), Badli (63.42%)), Mundka (62.47%) and Narela (65.72%) also saw comparatively lower turnouts, much below the average.
Little scope for lone rangers
“Till the last election, the other’s category — smaller parties such as Janata Dal and Bahujan Samaj party and even independent candidates — used to spring some surprises. It is quite clear that such votes have now gone to a party which has come up as an option to those who didn’t want to vote for the Congress and the BJP,” said Manoj Sinha, political analyst, Delhi University.
“Delhi has seen unprecedented voters turnout. The total poll percentage crossed 67.08% with around 89 lakh people casting their vote. In last year assembly election 78 lakh voters participated,” said Delhi’s Chief Electoral Officer Chandra Bhushan Kumar.
“No untoward incident was reported on the poll day and election was carried out peacefully. It was possible due to collective effort of people engaged on election duty,” said Kumar.
Video: Kejriwal, Bedi and Maken cast their votes