Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar
NEW DELHI: Delhiites turned out in large numbers on Saturday to vote in the elections to the 70-member Assembly. Chief Electoral Officer Satbir Silas Bedi has put the turnout at over 60 per cent.
The increase in the turnout is significant as in the elections to the Delhi Municipal Corporation in 2007 only 43 per cent people cast their votes. In the last Assembly elections too only 53 per cent voting was registered.
Among those who turned up to vote early in the morning in the VVIP New Delhi parliamentary constituency were Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, her children Rahul and Priyanka, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate, V.K. Malhotra.
Despite there being one booth for every 963 voters on average, there was no large percentage of electors by the time of closure at 5 p.m. Therefore, in at least two places — Keshopur in West Delhi and Bhati Mines in South Delhi — the voting continued past 7 p.m.
Dr. Bedi said polling was by and large peaceful and only four FIRs were registered at Mandir Marg, Sangam Vihar, Khyala and Mehrauli. Two persons were arrested for poll-related offences.
Dr. Bedi said it was up to the media to decide whether the “Pappu can’t vote” campaign had made an impact on young voters. Also, the pattern of high turnout was not restricted to rural areas; in urban centres too a large number of people exercised their franchise.