Bedi 'confident', Kejriwal alleges 'liquor bribe': Who said what
Polling is underway in Delhi on Saturday in a high-pitched electrifying electoral battle that the national capital has never witnessed before. Till 10:00am, 9.25% of the city's 1.33 crore voters cast their ballot. Voters will decide whether to give Delhi a decisive mandate in favour of the AAP or the BJP -- the two front runners -- or keep it a hung assembly even after a year of President's Rule.delhi Updated: Feb 08, 2015 07:17 IST
As voting picked up in Delhi on Saturday morning, leaders from different political parties traded charges as the high-voltage fight for the national capital intensified.
Both the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which appears favourite after opinion poll predictions, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) exuded confidence about a victory, while allegations and counter-allegations flew thick and fast.
Here's your guide to who said what, and the highlights of the big day.
In his signature style, the former Delhi chief minister turned the heat on his rivals as he came out to vote.
"Last night liquor and money were distributed. People of Delhi know which party did this… Don't vote for them," Kejriwal said without naming any party.
"People want freedom from corruption, bribery, and I am hopeful they will vote accordingly."
Striking a positive note, Kejriwal said, "I am confident that AAP will win the elections and form a government in Delhi."
Kejriwal is seeking re-election from the prestigious New Delhi constituency where he had handed down a crushing defeat
to former chief minister Sheila Dikshit in 2013.
"I am confident that truth will win, people will win. And the people will vote this time to get rid of corruption and inflation," he said.
Upping the ante against his rival, Kejriwal retweeted a tweet by party leader Kumar Vishvas: "Visited about 30 booths. BJP volunteers seem to have 'given up' after first 2-3 hours of voting! Reminds me of cong vlntrs in last election."
Kejriwal also sought the Election Commission's intervention over polling being "slowed down" in many places, which he said had resulted in voters returning without casting their vote.
"As per rules, 3 voters r allowed inside booth at a time. They r allowing only 1 voter, which has slowed down voting... Even lunch breaks being taken which is against rules. EC shud (sic) immediately intervene," he tweeted.
Earlier in the day, he took to Twitter and urged Delhi residents to come out and vote.
The BJP's chief ministerial candidate cast her vote at a polling booth in Uday Park, south Delhi, and asked people to opt for a "clean, literate and safe Delhi".
"Today is a historic day for Delhiites. It's the day for them to decide what type of Delhi they want," Bedi said.
"I am confident… looking forward to a new Delhi. I will work till the end. We have to make Delhi a world-class city."
Turning the tables on the AAP, she alleged the rookie party's supporters were threatening people against voting for the BJP in Krishna Nagar, Bedi's constituency and a saffron party stronghold.
Hitting out at Kejriwal, the 65-year-old leader said, "He does not even live in Delhi. He lives in Ghaziabad. I have been connected with the people here for over 40 years."
"The voters are getting the opportunity to elect two leaders in this election. My victory in Delhi would mean the Prime Minister's leadership as well," Bedi said after casting her vote in Malviya Nagar constituency.
Union minister Harsh Vardhan cast his ballot along with his mother in Krishna Nagar and said he was "confident of BJP's win" in the Delhi assembly elections.
Vardhan, who was BJP's chief ministerial candidate in the last assembly election, said that it would be a "historic win for the BJP".
On being asked about pre-poll surveys showing the AAP has an edge, Vardhan said, "We have not seen that in reality. I am 100% confident that the BJP will win, and I don't want to comment on these poll surveys till the results come out."
Nupur Sharma, BJP candidate from the New Delhi constituency who is fighting against Kejriwal, said she was also "confident of the BJP's victory ".
Despite the Delhi elections being considered a straight fight between the BJP and the AAP, Congress campaign chief Ajay Maken said, "The Congress can deliver on its promises in Delhi."
"I am very hopeful that Congress is going to do exceedingly well and we are going to form a government on our own. People are in for a big shock and surprise on February 10 (the result day)," he told reporters as he showed his inked finger at a Rajouri Garden polling booth.
"We have confined ourselves within raising real issues. Unlike other parties, we have not resorted to petty politics."
The Congress leader added, "Delhi, being a Union Territory, has multiplicity of authority and complex and administrative issues unlike other states. We need a set of people and a chief minister who can wade through these issues and provide good governance."
The former Delhi chief minister told reporters that leaders were talking less about programmes mentioned in their manifestos.
"No, it may be your perception (regarding the Congress not being in the election race) but the time has changed ... and the Congress is very much in the race," she added.
Vice president Hamid Ansari, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, AAP's Kejriwal, BJP's Bedi and Union minister Vardhan were among the early voters. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who cast his vote at a polling booth on Aurangzeb lane, refused to speak to reporters.
More than 12,000 polling stations, of which 714 have been identified as "critical" and 191 "highly critical" have been set up across the Capital. Over 64,000 police personnel have been deployed across the city to ensure free and fair polls. As many as 673 candidates are in the fray.
Political parties are desperate for a clear verdict, pleading with voters with slogans like 'Poorn Bahumat (absolute majority)', 'Sthir Sarkar (stable government)', 'Chalo chale Modi ke sath (Let's go with Modi)' and 'Paanch Sal Kejriwal (Five years for Kejriwal)'.
It has been a hard-fought campaign, a year after a Kejirwal-led government hastened the flashpoint on Jan Lokpal Bill and abandoned the people's verdict after just 49 days.
Video:Political heavyweights step out to vote in Delhi polls
First Published: Feb 07, 2015 11:01 IST