The fate of 150 candidates will be sealed in the electronic voting machines in the Capital on Thursday.
An electorate of 1.27 crore would be exercising their franchise for the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi during the 16 general election. There has been an increase of around 8 lakh registered voters, mostly first-timers, in the city from the 1.19 crore eligible voters during the December 2013 Assembly elections.
There are 58 Independent candidates in the fray, but the contest is likely to be a triangular one between the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress in all the Lok Sabha seats.
The triangular contest is a departure from the previous Lok Sabha elections in Delhi, which traditionally witnessed a direct fight between the BJP and the Congress. This turn of events has primarily taken place due to the unexpected political debut of the AAP in the 2013 Assembly elections.
Presently all the seven seats are held by the Congress. While the BJP is making all efforts to win the maximum number of seats riding on the “Modi wave”, stakes for the AAP are equally high as the fledgling party would like to build on the political premium gained through its electoral success in the 2012 Assembly elections.
Having faced an unprecedented rout in the Assembly polls, the Congress too is making all efforts to recover lost ground. With the United Progressive Alliance facing heavy anti-incumbency, retaining the seats for the sitting Congress MPs – three out of whom have been Cabinet Ministers – would be a challenge.
The Bahujan Samaj Party has also fielded candidates in all the seven seats. However, the Mayawati-led party, which came third during the 2009 parliamentary elections, has witnessed erosion in its support base towards the AAP.
Some of the popular faces in the fray include Union Ministers Kapil Sibal and Krishna Tirath; AICC general secretary Ajay Maken; Delhi BJP president Dr. Harsh Vardhan; Bhojpuri cine star Manoj Tiwari; Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi; journalist-turned-politicians Ashutosh and former Delhi Minister and one of youngest candidates, Rakhi Birla. In order to encourage a high voter turnout, the Delhi Electoral Office has come up with the concept of one model polling station in each of the 70 Assembly segments.
The model polling stations would have all the basic facilities to remove the urban apathy and encourage voters to come out and vote.
Adequate security arrangements have been made in the 2,527 polling stations across the city.
The Delhi Electoral Office has identified 417 polling stations as critical while 90 others as hyper-critical.
While all polling stations, police officials said, will be under CCTV surveillance, there will be additional deployment at the critical polling stations.
Around 35,000 Delhi Police personnel, apart from para-military forces, would be deployed to ensure a smooth run during the polls.