Lok Sabha elections 2019: Delhi has its say; just 59 seats left in last lap of polls
The national capital witnessed a dip in turnout compared to the 2014 figure of 65.1%, with Delhi’s chief electoral officer (CEO) Ranbir Singh saying it did not meet expectations.Updated: May 13, 2019 07:15 IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi’s seven Lok Sabha seats logged 60.17% polling in the sixth round of the general elections across 59 constituencies on Sunday, with North East Delhi recording the highest figure of 63.41% as the Capital’s electorate sealed its verdict in the triangular contest between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress.
The Election Commission said that the overall provisional turnout for Phase 6 was 63.67% till 10pm against the 2014 figure of 63.69%. West Bengal, which witnessed more political violence in the latest round of voting, topped the chart with 80.39% voting.
The national capital witnessed a dip in turnout compared to the 2014 figure of 65.1%, with Delhi’s chief electoral officer (CEO) Ranbir Singh saying it did not meet expectations.
While the provisional turnout figure for Delhi was lower than the figure of the previous general elections, it was the third-highest since 1977, according to official data. The voting percentage may go up after more details are received, the commission said.
The East Delhi seat recorded 59.63% voting, followed by New Delhi and South Delhi, which saw 56.9% and 58.59% polling respectively. West Delhi logged 60.64% voting, while North West Delhi recorded a turnout of 58.97%. Chandni Chowk saw a turnout of 62.68%.
In Faridabad and Gurgaon, the voter turnouts were 64.48% and 67.38% respectively. Union minister Rao Inderjit Singh is seeking re-election from Gurgaon, while Krishan Pal Gurjar is in the fray from the Faridabad Lok Sabha seat.
The polling in Delhi came days after the AAP and the Congress were engaged in protracted talks to stitch up an alliance but failed to strike a consensus to take on the BJP, which currently holds all seven seats in the national capital.
In 2009, the Congress had won in all parliamentary constituencies in Delhi.
Among those who voted in the national capital on Sunday were President Ram Nath Kovind, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi, and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and cricketer Virat Kohli also cast their votes.
After voting at a polling booth at Aurangzeb Lane, the Congress chief said “love will win” in the elections, which have seen high-pitched campaigns fuelled by rhetoric, political slugfests and personal attacks among top leaders.
Speaking at an election rally in Indore later, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched an attack on Gandhi, saying dynasty can take him to the top position of a party, but it “doesn’t bring vision and wisdom”.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal appealed to the Delhi electorate to vote for those who have done work and not for those spreading “hatred” and “venom”.
As Delhi residents voted on Sunday, complaints of malfunctioning electronic voting machines (EVMs) were reported from several places. The AAP’s Malviya Nagar MLA Somnath Bharti alleged that EVMs at booths 116, 117 and 122 were not functioning.
Polling began late at a few booths because of glitches. The Delhi chief electoral officer said that until 3pm, the poll watchdog replaced 61 ballot units, 35 control units, and 286 Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) units. The biggest number of glitches was reported in the South Delhi segment. Reports of EVM faults also came in from Chandni Chowk and West Delhi.
“One of the reasons [for the lower turnout] could be that this year, the elections coincided with the summer vacations. Many people might have already left the city. This year, elections are being held during the peak summer months. In 2014, elections were held on April 10 when the weather was still comfortable. Also, elections this time in Delhi were held on a weekend,” the Delhi CEO said.
About 14.3 million people in the national capital were eligible to vote in the polls that will decide the fate of 164 candidates. The seventh and last phase of elections will be held on May 19 and the counting of votes will take place on May 23.
Polling was also held in the sixth phase for 14 seats in Uttar Pradesh, all 10 in Haryana, eight seats each in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal and four in Jharkhand apart from Delhi’s seven seats. With the conclusion of Sunday’s phase, votes have been cast in nearly 89% of the 543 constituencies.
Prominent among those contesting in the sixth phase were former chief ministers Akhilesh Yadav, Digvijaya Singh, Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Sheila Dikshit, and Union minister Maneka Gandhi.
At least 80% polling was recorded in eight seats in West Bengal, where the BJP’s Ghatal candidate and former IPS officer Bharati Ghosh was attacked twice by local people when she tried to visit polling stations in her constituency. Ghosh suffered minor injuries when a group of women allegedly attacked her when she tried to take a BJP agent inside a polling booth at Keshpur area, an official told PTI.
Re-polling was conducted at booth number 116 in West Bengal’s Barrackpore parliamentary constituency and booth number 110 in Arambag Lok Sabha seat, along with one polling station each in Puducherry and Tripura.
A poll officer was allegedly beaten up by an MLA of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh during the penultimate phase.
Maneka Gandhi and her rival Bahujan Samaj Party candidate Chandra Bhadra Singh were engaged in an argument in Sultanpur, with the BJP leader warning him that hooliganism would not be allowed. Singh dismissed her charge.
(With inputs from agencies)
First Published: May 12, 2019 23:18 IST