08/02/2020 9:29 AM IST | Updated 08/02/2020 8:42 PM IST

59% Voter Turnout In Delhi Elections, AAP And BJP Spar On Polling Day

There was a rise in the voting percentage after initial sluggishness, especially in morning hours.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at a press conference at AAP Party office, ITO, on February 5, 2020 in New Delhi.

Delhi recorded 59.08% voter turnout in the assembly elections, the Election Commission’s provisional figures showed as of 8.38 pm on Saturday. This was down from over 67% in the last election in 2015.

Polling for the 70-member Delhi Assembly took place on Saturday in an election that saw the ruling AAP, opposition BJP and the Congress engaged in a bitterly fought campaign.

There was a rise in the voting percentage after initial sluggishness, especially in morning hours. Of the 11 districts, northeast Delhi recorded a turnout of 63.4%, the highest, while New Delhi saw 44.29%, the lowest.

Over 1.47 crore people were eligible to exercise their franchise in the polls. Polling began at 8 am and ended at 6 pm.

Security forces kept a tight watch across the 70 constituencies, with police and paramilitary personnel keeping an “extra vigil” in areas like Shaheen Bagh, Jamia Nagar and Seelampuri, where anti-CAA protests have been on for weeks.

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Kejriwal v Smriti Irani spar over women voters

According to Delhi Chief Electoral Officer Ranbir Singh there were over 81 lakh male, 66.80 lakh female, and 869 third-gender eligible voters.

Incumbent Delhi CM Arvind Kejirwal’s appeal to women voters on Saturday morning took a turn after Union minister Smriti Irani called it sexist.

Kejriwal had said: “Please go to cast vote. A special appeal to all the women - As your shoulder the responsibility at home, likewise, the responsibility of the country and Delhi is on your shoulders. All of you women, please do cast your vote and take men along with you. Do discuss with men who it will be right to vote for.”

When Irani asked if the Delhi CM thought women could not themselves decide who to vote for, Kejriwal said: “Delhi’s women have decided who to vote for and this time women have decided who their family will vote for because, in the end, it’s they who run the household.”

Kejriwal slams BJP

Kejriwal also took on BJP, saying the saffron party had been mocking him ever since he recited the ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ on a TV channel.

NDTV reported BJP Delhi chief Manoj Tiwari claimed Kejriwal had compromised the temple’s “purity” by not following rules.

“Did he go to pray or make Hanuman-ji ashuddh (impure)? He took off his shoes and used the same hands to take flowers to the God? What has he done? When fake devotees come, this is what happens. I told the priest there, he washed the Hanuman idol multiple times,” Tiwari said.

In response, Kejriwal tweeted: “Yesterday, I went to a Hanuman Temple. Today, BJP leaders are saying that the temple has turned impure by his visit. What kind of politics is this? God belongs to all. God blesses everyone, including those in the BJP.”

Alka Lamba’s 

Congress’s Chandni Chowk candidate Alka Lamba on Saturday got into an altercation with an AAP worker outside a polling booth, when she was reportedly interrupted during a media interaction.

The video shows Lamba arguing with the AAP worker. She can be then seen trying to slap the man, but missing.

Lamba alleged that the man used “very foul” and objectional language against her.

“The AAP volunteer was apparently protesting that Lamba was giving byte to media,” Additional DCP, North, Dinesh Kumar Gupta told Hindustan Times.

The Chandni Chowk MLA was outside one of the polling booths in her constituency.

The fight

Prominent candidates in the fray today included Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia, Atishi and Raghav Chadha of the AAP; four former mayors ― Azad Singh, Yogender Chandolia, Ravinder Gupta and Khushi Ram ― of the BJP; and Shivani Chopra, daughter of Delhi Congress president Subhash Chopra.

Besides police security, polling stations falling in the “critical category” were given paramilitary cover. Activities at such stations were monitored through webcasting, officials said.

All five polling stations in Shaheen Bagh, the epicentre of massive protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, were under critical category.

Counting of votes will take place on Tuesday, February 

The Aam Aadmi Party is hoping to repeat its stellar performance of the last assembly polls when it won 67 of the 70 seats. The Bharatiya Janata Party, which bagged all the seven seats in Delhi in the 2019 Lok Sabha poll, is aiming to dislodge the AAP, while the Congress is seeking to better its performance than last time when it drew a blank in the assembly polls.

The AAP had got 54.3 per cent votes in the 2015 polls, while the BJP secured 32 per cent and the Congress bagged just 9.6 per cent. 

Exit polls have predicted a third consecutive win for AAP. Here’s a breakdown of each poll’s predictions.