Delhi 2020

Delhi gears up for Assembly polls; extra vigil in Shaheen Bagh, other sensitive areas

Polling officials seen checking the election materials on the eve of the Delhi Assembly elections at the East Delhi area, on February 7, 2020.

Polling officials seen checking the election materials on the eve of the Delhi Assembly elections at the East Delhi area, on February 7, 2020.   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

Over 1.47 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in the electoral battle for Delhi.

Nearly 1.47 crore people are eligible to cast their ballot for the Delhi Assembly elections on Saturday for which election officials have prepared 13,0000 polling stations across the city.

For the first time, at least 11 booths will be accepting QR code-based voter slips, senior officials said. These will be scanned using a “Booth App” run by polling staff at the booths. Also, polling officials have also been asked to come to the station a day in advance. Senior officials siad that this had been done to avoid issues on the day of polling with many having to wake up very early and travel long distances.

 

While about 2600 people, including senior citizens and Persons with Disabilities have already cast their vote through postal ballots, election officials have also made pick and drop facilities for persons under these categories. Among these include about two lakh people who are above the age of 80 and XX number of PWD persons. There are also at least 150 people who are above the age of 100, who will be eligible to cast their vote in the present elections. Apart from this there are about 2.32 young voters between the ages of 18 and 19, and in total there are about 81 lakh male voters, 66 lakh female voters and 869 third gender voters.

At least 70 model polling booths have also been set up, one in each constituency, with all infrastructure facilities, election officials said. A total of 3704 polling booths at 516 locations have been identified as critical, including up to 5 polling stations in the Shaheen Bagh area. Special provisions such as live we casting and additional seccurity have been made at such polling stations to ensure smooth polling.

The previous assembly elections held in 2015 had seen a record turnout of 67.08%. In a bid to encourage voters Election officials have als been carrying out a large scale voter awareness and encouragement campaign, which has included music concerts at various locations, bike rallys, rangoli competitions, school level campaigns as well as social media outreach, advertisements, and regular jingles on FM radio channels to encourage voters. Various special campaigns alos focused on improving voter turnouts from areas seen to traditionally have low turnouts, officials said. Polling officials have also appealed to peal to avoid going on vacations on Saturday and ensure that they cast their ballot so as ensure a good turnout this time as well.

 

Special Commissioner of Police (Intelligence) Praveer Ranjan, had earlier said 190 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) will be deployed as part of the security measures.

This is nearly four times the number of CAPF personnel deployed during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, he added.

There are 13,750 polling booths, besides one auxiliary booth, located at 2,689 locations across Delhi.

“As far as critical polling stations are concerned, there are 516 locations and 3,704 booths in that category,” Mr. Singh said.

Besides police security, polling stations falling in the “critical category” get paramilitary cover. Activities will be monitored through webcasting, he said.

Police and election machinery are on “extra vigil” and assessing the situation all the time across the national capital, he added.

Security personnel kept guard at strong rooms storing EVMs. Election staff carried EVMs and other polling material to booths under tight supervision in all constituencies.

 

Shaheen Bagh falls in the Okhla assembly constituency. The area has become the epicentre of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in the national capital and the agitation has been thrust by political parties into a poll issue.

Hundreds of people, including women and children, have been protesting since December 15 at Shaheen Bagh against the CAA and the National Register of Citizens.

Poll authorities had met protesters recently and encouraged them to vote on the polling day.

“The 2020 Delhi polls will be tech-driven with greater use of technology elements like mobile apps, QR codes, social media interface, seeking to enhance the experience of all categories of voters, before polling or on the voting day. And we are trying to make the best use of it,” he said.

Electors can carry smartphones at polling stations in 11 assembly constituencies for accessing QR codes from the voters’ helpline app in case they have not brought the voters’ slip to the booth.

Delhi has 70 Assembly constituencies and one constituency in each of the 11 districts will have this tech-driven facility.

The 11 are Sultanpur Majra, Seelampur, Ballimaran, Bijwasan, Trilokpuri, Shakur Basti, Nee Delhi, Rohtas Nagar, Chhatarpur, Rajouri Garden and Jangpura.

 

According to Singh, focussed campaigns were carried by his office to reach out to different sections of voters, aiming to break the “urban apathy” of the electorate.

Special campaigns were carried out in 30 constituencies which had seen lower turnout in 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Singh hoped that the twin-edged strategy of more thrust on use of technology complemented with massive campaigns in the run-up, will lead to a greater turnout than in 2015.

A mega, multi-domain outdoor campaign is being carried out by the Delhi CEO Office to bring large number of electorate to the polling booths, besides jingles on all major FM stations.

The ruling AAP is going into the Delhi election with the hope to repeat its stellar performance in the last assembly polls, while the BJP, which bagged all seven seats here in the Lok Sabha election, will be aiming at expanding its vote share in the national capital.

The Aam Aadmi Party had got 54.3 per cent votes in the 2015 Assembly polls, while the Bharatiya Janata Party got a vote share of 32 per cent and the Congress managed to bag just 9.6 per cent of the total votes polled.

The AAP will fight the polls on a depleted strength of 60 MLAs as it had to concede one seat to the BJP in the subsequent bypoll, while six of the lawmakers were disqualified over joining other parties.

(With inputs from PTI)

A letter from the Editor


Dear reader,

We have been keeping you up-to-date with information on the developments in India and the world that have a bearing on our health and wellbeing, our lives and livelihoods, during these difficult times. To enable wide dissemination of news that is in public interest, we have increased the number of articles that can be read free, and extended free trial periods. However, we have a request for those who can afford to subscribe: please do. As we fight disinformation and misinformation, and keep apace with the happenings, we need to commit greater resources to news gathering operations. We promise to deliver quality journalism that stays away from vested interest and political propaganda.

Support Quality Journalism
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jun 1, 2020 5:00:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/delhi-assembly/delhi-assembly-elections-on-february-8-2020/article30763500.ece

Next Story