Women voters came out in sizeable number in most of the constituencies with some polling booths registering over 50 per cent turnout in Delhi assembly elections on Wednesday.
Constituencies in South Delhi, like R K Puram, Malviya Nagar, Chhatarpur and Tughlaqabad, among others, saw female electors exercising their franchise in large number with issues like security, inflation and civic amenities being the major deciding factors.
R K Puram, from where Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has fielded one of its women candidates, Shazia Ilmi, saw “women voters outnumbering their male counterparts with many being first-timers.
“At this time of polling at 3 p.m. out of over 800 registered voters from this booth, women turnout percentage is close to 50,” Sanjay Kishore, presiding officer at one of the polling stations at R K Puram, told PTI.
In Chhatarpur constituency too, women electors surpassed the number of male voters.
“At this booth in Chhatarpur, women outnumber men both in terms of the electoral base as well as the turnout. By 11 AM, out of 35,000 registered voters, over 4200 ballots have been cast,” Election Officer Ramesh Rajput said.
The slums of Indira Camp at Tughlaqabad, which has about 30,000 vote-base, saw a huge turnout and they complained of “unhygienic conditions and lack of sanitation amenities”.
“We live in hellish sanitation conditions. As against the huge number of residents here, only a few toilets have been provided. We are hoping for a change this time,” 48-year-old Camp resident Lal Singh said.
Scores of sex workers, transgenders and homeless living in Delhi voted in the Delhi Assembly elections on Wednesday.
Nearly 1,500 sex workers living in G B road area had enrolled their names in the electoral roll and most of them exercised their franchise.
“I want to exercise my right as a citizen, that is why I have come out to vote,” said a sex worker on condition of anonymity, adding that the number of people in this category enrolling as voters have increased.
Around 5,000 sex workers reside in the 116 brothels situated on G B Road.
“We have the right to elect our representative, who will work for our welfare, it is important, especially for us to vote,” she said.
For the first time, Delhi Election Commission added about 8,000 homeless, 1,500 sex workers and 551 transgenders, under the ‘others’ category.
According to a government official in the area, there has been a steady rise in the number of sex workers enrolling as voters. From 300 who got enrolled ahead of the 2003 elections, the number went up to 1,200 in the 2008 elections.
A large number of people in several areas of the capital complained that they were unable to exercise their franchise in Delhi polls as their names were missing from electoral rolls despite having valid voter ID cards.
Several enthusiastic voters, who had turned up at the polling booths with their voter ID Cards and other documents to establish identity, had to return home infuriated and dejected as they were not allowed to cast their ballot.
Residents of constituencies of East and North East districts felt “harassed” as they had to run from one registration desk to another at different polling booths in search of their names.
A DTC bus driver, Liyaquat Ali (55) and his wife Amna Begum (50) from Krishna Nagar were disappointed at not being able to cast their vote. They spent more than three hours searching their names since they reached the polling station at 8.40 a.m.
“We have been living in Delhi since 1970 and have voted several times in the past. Now they are telling me that our names are not there in the electoral list and we cannot vote. This is disgusting,” he said.
Residents of Muslim-dominated areas like Brajpuri and Khureji Khas in Krishna Nagar constituency were annoyed and had heated arguments with poll duty officials for not being allowed to vote.
“Even residents, who have been living here for the last four decades and have voted before, are not being allowed to vote. This is a conspiracy,” Mustaqeem Hussain said.
Same issues were faced by residents of Gandhi Nagar, Kondli, Patparganj and Trilokpuri.
Mohammed Salim, 50, a resident of Trilokpuri cited this as the glaring example of carelessness in the registration process.
“It’s is a glaring instance of carelessness. I have eleven members in my family eligible for voting, but none of us can exercise our right. This is intolerable. First, the government doesn’t stand up to your expectations, then they do not allow you to vote. It’s ridiculous,” he said.
Asanand Kapoor (84), a resident of Shahadara, was visibly upset as he said, “My entire family has cast their ballot, but I, who is the head of the family...my name is missing from the list. I am an old man and have come all the way to vote. This is not fair,” Mr. Kapoor said.