Delhi, in all its colour, glory picks its MPs | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times

Delhi, in all its colour, glory picks its MPs

By, New Delhi
May 26, 2024 04:56 AM IST

The BJP, which has held all seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi since 2014, was up against the AAP-Congress combine.

Suffocating winds swept through the dusty campus of the Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya school in J Block, Rajouri Garden, West Delhi on Saturday afternoon, sheathing every square inch in dust and grime. People stood in streaks of shifty queues that inched forward leisurely. Between this thick of voters, Krishna Devi was wheeled in on her wheelchair by a couple of young men. The 93-year-old hadn’t missed out on exercising her franchise in decades and she wasn’t about to let the heat kink that resolve.

New Delhi, May 25 (ANI): Voters show their ink-marked fingers after casting their vote for the sixth phase of the Lok Sabha polls, in New Delhi on Saturday. (ANI Photo/Ishant)
New Delhi, May 25 (ANI): Voters show their ink-marked fingers after casting their vote for the sixth phase of the Lok Sabha polls, in New Delhi on Saturday. (ANI Photo/Ishant)

“I live alone and came here with the help of my caretakers. No one asked me to come vote, but I know how important the exercise is,” she said.

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In another school, 7km away, Suraj Prakash and Poonam Rani gingerly set aside their walking canes. The 43-year-old man walked in first, voted and made way for his 41-year-old wife. Both polio patients, the two have voted together at the same booth in the Kendriya Vidyalaya on the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus for a decade.

“These are important elections to decide the direction India takes,” said Prakash.

From Union ministers to gig workers, from Supreme Court justices to homemakers, from defence veterans to school teachers, millions of Delhi’s residents poured out of their homes and spilled into many thousands of polling booths in the Capital under the unsparing May sun to stamp their vote during the sixth phase of the general elections.

However, voter turnouts across Delhi’s seven seats dipped marginally, as against five years ago, as the blistering 43.2°C maximum temperature appeared to leave its mark. The Capital’s provisional voter turnout weakened to 56.9%, from 60.6% in 2019. To be sure, this is likely to be revised upwards when the Election Commission of India (ECI) releases final figures.

But where the city’s most affluent neighbourhoods weighed down the number, others stepped up to the plate.

Indeed, the turnout was its highest in North East Delhi, which still bears the deep scars of the 2020 communal riots, with 62.9% of the segment’s voters casting their ballot on Saturday.

In Jafrabad, 62-year-old Aqeel Ahmed said his neighbourhood has been unable to bridge the communal chasms even four years later. “There is so much polarisation in all of northeast Delhi. We are constantly living in fear. We can’t trade freely. The riot did not cause so much loss as the general environment has today,” he said.

On the other end of the spectrum, New Delhi made up the tail-end of the tally once again, with a turnout of 52%, compared to 56.9% in 2019, which was also the lowest that year.

Savitri Devi, who cast her vote at a polling booth in Barakhamba Road, said she arrived early to skip the queue. But, she found, there was no queue to skip. “There was no crowd. I finished voting in around 10 minutes,” she said.

Gopal Krishan, who heads the Federation of New Delhi Residents’ Welfare Associations argued that voters who live and around the Lutyens’ zone “aren’t interested in the elections”.

But bright spots were aplenty, as voters young and old, dressed in loose clothes, armed with umbrellas, sunglasses and sunblock headed out to get inked.

Take Sawan, a first-time voter in Vasant Vihar, for instance. The 20-year-old met with an accident earlier this week, was discharged after treatment on Friday and made sure he didn’t have to wait for his first vote.

“I could manage the pain for a day,” he added.

Mohit Dubey, 27, broke his leg in an accident in March, but hobbled his way through a polling booth in Vikaspuri on a walker.

“This cannot be a barrier in such a situation. We all must exercise our right to vote,” he said

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