NEW DELHI: Vice President Hamid Ansari, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal, BJP's Chief Ministerial candidate Kiran Bedi and Union Minister Harsh Vardhan were among the early voters in the Delhi Assembly polls where all eyes are on AAP and BJP.
The elections are significant as a defeat for BJP may bolster the opposition while a victory for the party will increase its confidence ahead of assembly polls in Bihar later this year.
The Election Commission said 5.64 percent of the 13 million eligible voters exercised their franchise till 9 am.
AAP leader Kejriwal, whose party has put up a spirited fight in the polls, cast his vote at around 10 am at a polling booth in BK Dutt colony in the New Delhi constituency.
Earlier, Kejriwal appealed to the voters, in a tweet, to "take a bath and head out to vote with a prayer. You will definitely win."
सब लोग नहा धोकर अपने अपने ईश को याद करके वोट डालने ज़रूर जाना :) आपकी अवश्य जीत होगी।— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) February 7, 2015
His BJP rival Kiran Bedi, after casting her vote at a polling station in Malviya Nagar, appealed to people to come out in large numbers and vote.
"Today is a historic day. Delhiites have to decide what kind of Delhi they want - a clean Delhi, a secure Delhi, a capable Delhi, a Delhi that respects women. Respecting women is respecting Delhi. I appeal people to come out and vote," she said.
In the morning, Bedi tweeted a picture taken from her balcony and wrote, "The Sun God from my Window. Magnanimous for all, always. Giving me the Energy to Serve...Thank you."
In another tweet, she said, "with parents, family, and people's blessings I have done my duty...now its your turn to vote for Safe+ Delhi."
With parents, family, and people's blessings I have done my duty...now its your turn to vote for Safe+ Delhi pic.twitter.com/Z6WvNYFqCK— Kiran Bedi (@thekiranbedi) February 7, 2015
Congress President Sonia Gandhi cast her vote at a polling booth at 9:35 am in Nirman Bhavan in Central Delhi. The Congress is not seen as serious contender for power as the fight is largely seen between AAP and BJP.
When asked to comment on the polls, Gandhi said, "Whatever the people want will happen." Meanwhile Rahul Gandhi cast his vote at a booth in Aurangzeb lane.
Ajay Maken, Congress' face for Delhi polls Ajay Maken, after casting his vote said the party will never extend or take support from AAP if such a situation arises.
"We will never ever give support to AAP again," he said, adding "I am very hopeful that Congress is going to do exceedingly well and we are going to form government on our own."
Maken also appealed to the people to come out in large numbers and vote.
"I would like to request all Delhiites to come out and vote. I also request them to vote judiciously. This is a very important day and each and every vote is very important for all of us," he said.
The Congress had extended outside support to AAP to form a government after the 2013 polls. The Arvind Kejriwal-led government quit after remaining in power for 49 days.
Vice President Ansari and Delhi's Chief Electoral Officer Chandra Bhushan Kumar were also among the first few to cast their votes.
Union Minister Vardhan said BJP will come out victorious in the polls.
Asked about reports that he was not happy with fielding of Bedi from Krishna Nagar seat which he had represented for five times Vardhan said, "We don't work for individuals. We work for the BJP ideology."
Polling began at 8 am at over 12,000 polling stations, of which which 714 have been identified as "critical" and 191 "highly critical".
A total of 673 candidates are in the fray in the contest. Over 64,000 police personnel have been deployed across the city to ensure free and fair polls.Suggest a correction