POLLING: 65.59 % In the East Delhi Lok Sabha constituency

In the East Delhi Lok Sabha constituency, an overwhelming number of voters of unauthorised colonies, slums and minority areas appear to have still gone with the Aam Aadmi Party, while the Congress made last minute inroads in minority-dominated areas as they voted to keep at bay the saffron surge.

The residents of Pandit Bismil Camp slums near the sprawling Sanjay Gandhi lake park, voted en masse for the AAP candidate, Rajmohan Gandhi, at the Bapu Public School where a bulk of inhabitants of Patparganj village cast their vote.

“Full marks to Arvind Kejriwal for giving auto drivers and the labour class a ray of hope. Not a single leader of any political party spoke on behalf of the poor people. He stopped the police from harassing and extorting money from us. They slap us Rs.4,500-fine for wrong parking even if we have just dropped a customer home,” said Vijay Singh, a Dyal Singh College drop-out.

Though Vijay and other auto-drivers endorsed the AAP, Yusuf Khan, their neighbour in the slum colony, claimed he voted for the Congress to keep the BJP prime ministerial candidate at bay.

While these people had clear-cut priorities, the residents of Okhla’s Batla House voted either for the Congress or the AAP at Jamia Millia Islamia polling centre.

“Though the Batla House residents hold Rajmohan Gandhi in reverence, but we voted to prevent Narendra Modi from becoming the Prime Minister,” said Anwar, a businessman.

For some, it is all in the family. Aftab Ali, a hotelier, whose elder brother is a cook at Rashtrapati Bhavan, said his entire family has been with the Congress. “My grandfather had worked for the first Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru. My father also served the party. So I had no alternative except to vote for the hand.”

A number of youth living in Zakir Nagar also claimed to have voted for the AAP, indicating a clear division among the community votes. Arguing in favour of the BJP, Ramesh Ahuja, said he voted for a strong government at the Centre. “We need a strong Prime Minister who can give a befitting reply to our neighbours like Pakistan and China whey they either behead our soldiers or encroach our territory.”

But two siblings and over two dozen youngsters from the same colony claimed to have voted for the AAP because they did not want at the helm a person who “does not have a clean track record as far as combating communalism is concerned”.