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Delhi polls LIVE: Will take full responsibility for verdict on 10 Feb, says Kiran Bedi

8:00 pm: Delhi polling turnout his record new high

This election has seen the highest turnout ever with reports pegging the turnout at a whopping 67.21 percent.

7.25 pm: Surveys on TV reflect polling only till 3 pm, says Kiran Bedi

Kiran Bedi, in a press conference, said that the exit polls shown on TV were not reliable because they only reflected the polling till 3 pm and not between 3 and 6 pm.

Saying that the true verdict will only come out on 10 February, the BJP's CM candidate for Delhi said, "I will take complete responsibility for the verdict on 10 February." Bedi also said that the polling which took place between 3 and 6 pm will be in favour of the BJP. "Truth will win on 10 February," she said.

"I am thankful to BJP for giving me this responsibility," Bedi said on being BJP's CM candidate.

"The condition of Delhi is shameful right now," Bedi said. "I am shocked at the condition in which Congress abandoned Delhi. Delhi is a deprived, choked city right now." She also said that the city is divided into have and have-nots right now and women's security is bad in the city.

"The Uber rape case was avoidable. Delhi police needs to be better co-ordinated," she said.

"If BJP comes to power in #Delhi, we will make Delhi a world-class city," said Bedi. "If BJP comes to power, there will 2400 hours electricity in Delhi instead of just 24 hours."

6.10 pm: Sex workers exercise their voting rights in Delhi

The polling booth at the historical Anglo Arabic Model School built in 1632, suddenly got abuzz at 2 pm, as hundreds of sex workers from Delhi’s red-light area GB Road (now Shraddhanand Marg) came in groups to exercise their voting rights, reported Firstpost's Debobrat Ghose. Besides, Matia Mahal assembly constituency has a sizeable Muslim population, who came with families.

According to the presiding electoral officer of the booth, by 3.30 pm, the average voting touched 55%. “By the closing of the day, it’s expected to cross 60%. The voting gained momentum only after 2 pm, and now there is a steady flow of voters.”
This Matia-Mahal booth in Chandni Chowk Lok Sabha constituency, which is close to GB Road, drew attention since 2008 onwards, as sex workers got voting rights and started exercising it.

“I voted in 2013 Assembly election and 2014 General Election after my voters’ ID card was made. It’s an important move for sex workers,” said a sex worker on condition of anonymity. A brothel owner echoed a similar view. Due to social stigma, many sex-workers kept their faces partially covered, while in queue.

“1500 sex workers have got voters ID card and they will cast vote. Around 2000 cards are in pipeline,” said Shahzad Ahmad.

5.27 pm: 63 percent voting takes place till 5 pm

According to TV reports, 63 percent polling took place in the Delhi elections till 5 pm, as the voter turnout is now inching towards a record. According to Times Now, the voter turnout was 63.46 percent till 5 pm.

5.08 pm: Voting to be extended by an hour, say reports

The polling for Delhi elections will be extneded by an hour due to the long lines of voters, according to reports. Meanwhile, a BJP core group is currently meeting at 7RCR, Delhi which includes PM Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, according to Times Now.

4.30 pm: 'Hope AAP will give BJP something to think about'

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah today voiced hope that the Aam Aadmi Party will give BJP "something to think about" in Delhi which is voting to elect its Assembly.

Omar wished good luck to the voters in Delhi. "Good luck voting today Delhi. Aap achay say vote ka istemal karen (Cast your vote cleverly) 😉 #Delhi2015," he tweeted.

He also said it clearly demonstrates the writing on the wall when the political parties accuse their opponents of playing dirty tricks on the poll day.

3.40 pm: Over 40% voting till 2 pm, EC confident of record polling

The Election Commission today said that polling in the Delhi Assembly election could well cross the 65% mark as voters were still coming out and participating in the election process.

"We expect at least 70% voting by 6 pm," Chief Election Commissioner HS Brahma told reporters.

3.20 pm: Congress will come through, it has faced difficulties before: Priyanka

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi today conceded her party was facing a tough election but maintained that it will come through as they have faced difficulties in the past.

"I think it's definitely an important opponent in this election.. Congress has faced difficulties before and it has always come through, I'm sure it will come through," Priyanka Gandhi.

2.50 pm: Amit Shah calls for top leadership meeting at 7 pm

BJP chief Amit Shah has called for a meeting at 7 pm this evening which is likely to be attended by key BJP leaders. With the BJP camp nervous about an AAP win, the meeting will discuss exit-poll results which will be released this evening, among other things.

2.45 pm: EC should make provisions for visually impaired

Sharda Devi is blind by birth, but that does deter her from voting. At the St Columbus School booth of the New Delhi constituency her husband Ranjit Dutta makes her press the EVM button.

"Since, I cannot see, my husband always ensures that I cast my vote as per my choice. He takes me to EVM machines and tell me the order of symbols of different political party on the voting machine. He helps me press the button of my choice," the 58-year-old woman told Firstpost complaining that the Election Commission does make any arrangement that can enable visually impaired vote on their own. - Tarique Anwar

"The EC should design visually impaired-friendly EVMs so that we can vote without any help," she puts forth.Ranjit said, "We are poor people and we vote on issues like price rise. We want a stable government which can spare time to think about us."

 

2.25 pm: Kiran Bedi confident of BJP victory, says high voter turnout will help her

Exuding confidence of a BJP victory, Bedi appealed to the people to come out in large numbers and vote.

"Today is a historic day. Delhiites have to decide what kind of Delhi they want - a clean Delhi, a secure Delhi, a capable Delhi, a Delhi that respects women. Respecting women is respecting Delhi. I appeal people to come out and vote," she said.

"The voters are getting the opportunity to elect two leaders in this election. My victory in Delhi would mean the Prime Minister's leadership as well," Bedi said after casting her vote in Malviya Nagar constituency.

2.10 pm: AAP alleges conspiracy, says voting being slowed down

Arvind Kejriwal today tweeted out that polling in some areas has been slowed down and in some areas it was taking almost two hours for voters to cast their votes. He urged the EC to intervene.

 

2. 10 pm: 'Ninety-six, but not done yet'

Ninety-six year old, or should we call it 96-year young? Nonagenarian Pratap Chand Jain has been involved in election activities, including voting, since 1938, and he is not finished yet.

After coming out from the polling booth near Hanuman Mandir at Connaught Place station, he told Firstpost: "I have been taking part in the electoral process since 1938. If you do not vote, you have no right to raise questions on the functioning of the government."

Incidentally, the voters' turnout at this booth was extremely low. Only around 400 votes have been polled out of to total 1800.

"My health does not allow me to walk but I don't care. I have never missed any election so far," says Jain who has difficulty hearing despite using hearing aid. - Tarique Anwar

1.55 pm: Hope Delhi finally gets a stable govt, says Jung

Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung today expressed hope that a stable government will be formed after the polls in the city which has been under President's Rule for last one year.

"I hope so," Jung said when asked whether Delhi would get a stable government after the polls.

Jung cast his vote at a booth in St Xavier's Senior Secondary School in Civil Lines in the Model Town constituency.

 

 

1. 50 pm: AAP complains to EC about Kiran Bedi's 'pad-yatra'

The AAP has filed a complaint with the Election Commission against Kiran Bedi for violating the model code of conduct in Krishna Nagar by holding pad-yatra and asking for votes.

1.30 pm: We will cooperate with BJP, tell her to file complain, says AAP

With BJP candidate Nupur Sharma alleging that she and her companions were manhandled by AAP volunteers, AAP spokesperson Atishi Marlena said they were willing to cooperate with the party, and those guilty should be punished.

"If anyone has misbehaved, Nupur Sharma must file a complaint. We will also cooperate if she can give details of that person," she said.

Sharma, meanwhile, has termed the AAP as an 'anti-women' party.

1.05 pm: BJP candidate Nupur Sharma says she was manhandled

The BJP has alleged that its candidate from New Delhi constituency, Nupur Sharma, was manhandled along with her colleagues by AAP volunteers. Sharma has confirmed the incident, which took place near Princes Park at India Gate.

"The AAP volunteers wearing their party caps and T-shirts were trying to influence voters. While passing through the area, I spotted them and raised objection, saying they cannot canvass on the polling day. Irritated AAP supporters indulged in violence and manhandled me and my colleagues. We were rescued by personnel of the Tilak Marg police station," she told Firstpost adding that she had not lodged any police complaint so far.

Soldiers of the democracy:

Those idling at home and refusing to come out vote should learn a few things from Sunil Sharma and Anand Kumar. In their early 40s, both are physically challenged and unable to stand on their feet. However, they won't let this come in the way of their exercising their right to vote.

Sunil, a homeless man who stays in the open outside Hanuman Mandir near in New Delhi constituency, was recognized as a Delhi voter three years ago. This is the third time he is voting. "I hope the government will think about us and make some arrangements so that we can at least get a roof over our heads," he told Firstpost, while urging people to come out and vote.

Anand Kumar, a second time voter, expects a clear majority this year and hopes the new government will do something concrete for people like him instead mere lip service. "I am happy that the government at least has recognised me as a citizen of this country. Despite hardship, I rendered my duty. Now, it's turn of the government to think about us," he said. - Tarique Anwar

 

12.45 pm: What makes Delhi, a small state where the government has no real powers so crucial?

Well, it's a matter of prestige for the parties in the fray. Delhi is the power hub of the country. A win or loss here sends a powerful message across the country. The result here could decide how the politics in other states shapes up in the coming months.

With some big ticket assembly elections around, the performance of all parties, particularly of the BJP, which has been on a winning streak for a long time, will be under watch. Besides this, Delhi is the media hub of the country. A government at the Centre would not like having an unfriendly government in the capital state. Frequent brushes between the two could be fodder for adverse publicity for the former in particular.   - Akshaya Mishra, Delhi Bureau chief

Meanwhile, sources have told Firstpost that in the illegal satta market bookies, punters and gamblers have placed bets over Rs 45,000 crore in the election.

12.30 pm: BJP demoralised, party workers have given up, says AAP

AAP chief and former Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal today alleged that several BJP workers have already given up. "Similar to how Congress workers gave up last elections... They are completely demoralised," Kejriwal tweeted.

12.20 pm: Congress will do exceedingly well, says Ajay Maken

Almost everyone may argue that the Congress is nowhere in the Delhi elections, but the party's eleciton campaign chief Ajay Maken is confident that they will do exceedingly well in the elections.

"I am very hopeful that Congress is going to do exceedingly well and we are going to form government on our own. People are in for a big shock and surprise on Feb 10," he told reporters as he showed his inked finger at a Rajouri Garden polling booth.

12.00 pm: 95 and still voting, Delhi wants change

A 54-year-old voter arrives carrying an old, fragile lady in a green printed cotton sari in his arms. She rests her head on his lap as they finish voting at the SGTB Khalsa Girls Senior Secondary School booth at BK Dutt Colony in Aliganj.

"She is Reshma Devi, my mother who turned 95 this year. Since morning she had been eagerly waiting to cast her vote. She has been doing this for the last 40 years. I had to carry her in my arms as she can't walk on road anymore. There's tough competition here between AAP and BJP. Let's see what's in store," Shambhu Thakur, originally from Madhubani and a resident of E Block at BK Dutt colony, told Firstpost.

When FP asked her about voting, Reshma Devi showed her finger bearing the ink mark and nodded in affirmation. Meanwhile, other voters started gathering around her to have a look of the grand old lady voter. She was joined by another 90-year-old, Sheila Devi, who was accompanied by her grand daughter, who's a minor. "I can't vote now, but have come with my daadi as she wanted to vote. we live in this colony only." - Debobrat Ghose.

11.50 am: Delhi records 19% voter turnout till 11 am

Voting percentage is picking up as Delhiites are slowly walking out of their homes to cast their votes. Central Delhi has recorded a voting of 15.30 percent till 11 am and election experts are expecting the national capital to beat previous records and give the state a decisive mandate.

BJP's CM candidate Kiran Bedi is not in cheerful best today. AFP

BJP's CM candidate Kiran Bedi is not in cheerful best today. AFP

11.30 am: Confident of victory, says Shazia Ilmi

Former AAP leader and now in the BJP camp, Shazia Ilmi has said, "people want a government that can convert their promises to reality. I'm confident that the BJP will come to power here as in the Centre."

Ilmi, too, seems to be angry with the media saying: "You are giving AAP extra coverage  because it appears that the BJP has angered you for some reason. But the people are smart, they know who to vote for."

Interestingly, she appeared to accuse Kejriwal of being too full of himself, saying he's all about I, me and myself, something similar to what her leader Narendra Modi was accused of.

11.25 am: Does high voter-turnout mean beter winning chances?

The enthusiasm among voters in certain pockets indicate a heavy turnout. The voting percentage in the previous assembly election was close to 67 percent; in the general election it was around 66 percent. This time Delhi may break all earlier records. But does that mean anything in terms of winning chances of parties? Not really. There's no coherent evidence to support the theory that a big turnout means votes against the party in power - meaning anti-incumbency voting. It's the same with low voter turnout. However, greater participation in election means greater awareness among voters. Which is a good sign. - Akshaya Mishra, Delhi Bureau chief.

11.20 am: Stop being biased, Bedi tells media

Delhi BJP's CM candidate Kiran Bedi today alleged that the media was being biased in its coverage of the elections.

"You are not showing the truth. You have to be responsible in your coverage," a visibly frustrated Bedi told reporters.

11.15 am: Fully confident, we will make it, says Kejriwal

Arvind Kejriwal, the man who earned the sobriquet 'Giant Killer' after defeating Congress veteran and three-term CM Sheila Dikshit in Delhi election last time, spoke to Debobrat Ghose of Firstpost briefly after casting his vote at SGTB Khalsa Girls Senior Secondary School, at BK Dutt Colony in Aliganj. The police force virtually cordoned him, not allowing anyone to interact with him.

"I'm fully confident. We'll make it. we've got immense support from Delhi voters," said Kejriwal showing the victory sign with a smile of a winner when asked how does he gauge the response from the public so far.

Kejriwal's popularity can be judged by the fact that nearly 500 people were waiting outside the booth to have a glimpse of him. "He has already become a hero . we're waiting outside to see him and then we'll go nd cast our vote," said Sarla Manchanda. The rooftops and balconies of the flats adjoining the school are full of people waving at him and raising slogans.

There was a situation of a virtual stampede near the booth. Security forces escorted him to his black grey Toyota Innova and he left while showing his fore finger telng that he has voted at 10.30 am.

"The overwhelming welcome he has received tells that he's already a winner", said senior citizen Jagdish Gherna.

11.05 am: After voting, Bedi to now visit every polling booth

Delhi BJP's CM candidate Kiran Bedi cast her vote early this morning and appeared confident that here party will win the Assembly elections.

While Bedi, who is contesting from Krishna Nagar, a BJP bastion, is set to win, both the camps - AAP and the BJP - are expecting a tough, nail-biting finish.

Meanwhile, Bedi will now go to each polling booth in her constituency to help party workers increase voter turnout.

10.58 am: Delhi records 5.64% voting till 9 am

According to Joint CEO Rajesh Goyal, the polling percentage till 9 am is over five percent. Many booths in posh colonies in New Delhi are deserted. The turnout is expected to improve after 12 noon. He also said special arrangement has been made for physically challenged people. "We have deluged officials with wheel chairs to facilitate elderly and physically impaired people to vote. In addition to our officials, they have been allowed one attendent to help them," he said. - Tarique Anwar

10. 50 am: 'Ajay Maken is possibly Delhi best CM candidate'

Our Delhi bureau chief Akshaya Mishra writes: The party with possibly the best chief minister candidate is nowhere in the picture in this election. Ajay Maken, the Congress' face for the top job in the state, has been completely overshadowed by Arvind Kejriwal. He would be ruing the fact that his party is an also-ran in this election despite being in power in Delhi for 15 years.

The party had a vote share of 24 percent in the assembly election of 2013. However, it did not convert into seats. It has been a sharp slide after that for the party. With most opinion polls predicting less than five seats for the Congress, Maken has a tough job at hand. There's also indication that the traditional supporters of the party are shifting to the AAP. The big question: will the Congress survive in Delhi after the election?

10.45 am: Don't vote for those who don't keep their promises: Kejriwal

Speaking to reporters after casting his vote, AAP chief and arguably man of the moment Arvind Kejriwal appealed to voters not to cast their votes for parties that don't respect them.

"A lot of money and alcohol was distributed last night. You know which party is doing it. Don't vote for them. Also, I urge you not to vote for those who turn their election manifesto into an election tactics."

10.14 am: Rahul Gandhi arrives at Aurangzeb lane polling booth

Rahul Gandhi arrived at Aurangzeb lane polling booth to cast his vote but did not speak with the media.

Meanwhile, Tarique Anwar reported big turnout was witnessed at every polling booth, especially those on the outskirts of Delhi. Women have started arriving in large number at their respective booths to cast their votes. The first-time voters have started pouring in too. They look quite enthusiastic.

9.40 am: Sonia Gandhi casts her vote

Congress president Sonia Gandhi cast her vote. Speaking to the media, the Congress chief said, "Whatever people want will happen."

AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal too went to vote early on Saturday. "People want freedom from corruption, bribery and am hopeful they will vote accordingly. I appeal people to vote and I am confident that truth will win, public will win in this election," the AAP chief said.

A voter from the Patparganj constituency, right after casting his vote, told AAP candidate Manish Sisodia: "Sir, I have done my job to the best I can, but you and your party make sure that you do your job better than what you did last time," Shibaji Roychoudhary reports.

BJP's young and vibrant Nupur Sharma speaking to the media said, "A govt with no drama is what Delhi wants. I urge youngsters to come out in full force and exercise their franchise." Sharma said she was confident that BJP will form the government in Delhi. The young candidate is touted to give a stiff competition to Arvind Kejriwal from the new Delhi constituency.

Delhi election is a direct contest between Arvind Kejriwal and Narendra Modi - Mufflerman and Modimania, if you please.

As Akshaya Mishra says, Kiran Bedi, the BJP's chief minister candidate, is a fringe player in the big show for all practical purposes. If Kejriwal wins, his profile as a politician becomes a whole lot brighter; if Modi loses the aura of invincibility around him stands deeply dented.

If the former loses, it would still have established him as a legitimate big political player, not an ambitious upstart that he was considered to be a few months ago. If Modi wins it would another feather in his cap.

9.19 am: With one vote get both PM and me, says Kiran Bedi

"Get two leaders with one vote -- Prime Minister Narendra Modi and me," Kiran Bedi says after casting her vote.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Election commission has arranged for 300 additional wheelchairs, over and above their usual number of disability assistance machines for the elderly and people with special abilities, Firstpost's Shibaji Roychoudhary reports.

According to the Chief Electoral Officer, Chandra Bhushan Kumar, the total number of wheelchairs was increased from 400 to 700. He also revealed that there will be hydraulic lifts in four polling stations in southwest district.

File photo of Ajay Maken.

File photo of Ajay Maken.

However, that may not be enough as in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, there were a total of 2,600 wheel chairs available for people with disabilities and the elderly, but this time astoundingly, even the ministry of social justice and empowerment has failed to supply the capital with adequate wheelchairs.

Meanwhile, speaking to the media Congress' face in Delhi polls Ajay Maken said he is too veteran to be nervous. "We will deliver on our promise." Congress wil have an important role to play in these crucial elections.

Former Chief Minister of Delhi Sheila Dikshit also cast her vote and said, "These elections are definitely personality dominated. Noone spoke of any issues. It is a time for change and Congress is very much in the battle."

9.00 am: Voter turnout dismal as of early morning, media reports say

According to TV reports, voter turnout is not too exciting as of early morning. Jamia was one of the few booths which saw long lines of voters but there is no rush in other polling booths, accordin to reports.

9.04 am: Khaas aadmi to Aam aadmi vote

President of India Pranab Mukherjee's daughter, Sharmistha Mukherjee, reaches Don Bosco school, just 1 km from Chittaranjan Park — the largest Bengali concentratd locality in Delhi — at 8.05 am.

From an exponent of kathak she has metamorphosed into a potential representative of the strong probashi Bangali (non-resident Bengali ) community in Delhi. Mukherjee is contesting on a Congress ticket from Greater Kailash assembly seat.

Speaking to Firstpost's Debobrat Ghose, Sharmistha Mukherjee, who makes her political debut in this assembly election, said: " I'm very confident. I'll win. Have been working for four months in my constituency. Very warm response from citizens especially women and senior citizens. Due to my father (President Mukherjee) I'm getting a lot of media attention. Got overwhelming response in CR Park. A local elected representative should monitor administration of the constituency. "

BK Suri, 88, has cast his vote and he says, he has been an witness to political changes in India since 1945. He says he has voted in all elections in Delhi. " A new change began two years back. And this will bring a new dawn to Indian politics". Sharmistha is inside the booth waiting for her turn to come.

Meanwhile, from khaas aadmi to aam aadmi, polling in Delhi is underway.

8.33 am: Kiran Bedi casts her vote from NITI Ayog

BJP's CM candidate Kiran Bedi  cast her vote a few minutes ago and speaking to mediapersons outside the NITI Ayog polling booth urged Delhiites to come out in record numbers and cast their vote.

Kiran Bedi. PTI

Kiran Bedi. PTI

"Today is a historic day. Delhi has to decide what kind of a city they want. Do they want a safe Delhi? Or do they want a educated, clean and green Delhi. Does the youth want employment? That's why I appeal to everyone in Delhi to come out and vote for the kind of city and government you want. It is your day. It is the day of democracy," a charged up Kiran Bedi said.

The big test for parties has begun.

As senior editor at Firstpost Akshaya Mishra noted, voting in Delhi today will settle a few serious questions: is it a battle between the underclass and the other classes? Is it a choice between anarchy and governance as BJP's Arun Jaitely would say? Is the public fascination for Narendra Modi wearing thin?

The class division was never as sharp in other election as that in Delhi. Perhaps, a section of the middle class, particularly the lower middle class, would vote for the AAP still, but the battle is predominantly about the underclass, the jhuggi-jhopdi population. They comprise about 55 percent of the electorate, big enough to tilt the results in favour of any particular party. Who are they going to support?

8.19 am: President Pranab Mukherjee casts his vote

President Pranab Mukherjee cast his vote for Delhi Assembly Election. According to media reports, voters had lined up at their respective polling booths from as early as 6.30 am to avoid rush.

President Pranab Mukherjee. AP

President Pranab Mukherjee. AP

Apart from the President, BJP leader Ram Madhav and Satish Upadhyay also cast their vote. Speaking to CNN IBN, Upadhyay said, "I am confident that BJP will win."

7.23 am: Voting begins in 70 constituencies for Delhi Assembly Elections

Voting for Delhi Assembly Election, one of the most exciting elections since the General Elections, started and is expected to go on till 6 pm. Delhi will exercise their franchise right to decide among 673 candidates will be contesting for 70 seats.

Security has been tightened around all the polling booths. Delhi police is working in tandem with neighbouring states. Almost 180 polling booths in Delhi have been recognised as hyper-sensitive, CNN-IBN reported.

According to media reports, polling booths were cordoned off six hours before polling. Meanwhile, a BJP MLA Sahib Singh Chauhan alleged that his car was attacked early on Saturday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged Delhi to go and vote in record numbers. The PM tweeted:

AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal asked the voters to exercise their franchise.

Twitter declared its own winner with #Vote4MufflerMan and #PressJhaaduButton being the top two trends early on Saturday. Here are a few reactions:

7.00 am: Voter turnout holds key as BJP, AAP gear up for big day

The wait is over! Delhi will decide today who will end up governing the national capital region. Will it be the broom-weilding Arvind Kejriwal from AAP who has been dubbed as the Bhagora by BJP and Congress but of late has garnered support from the Left parties and Mamata Banerjee? Or will it be BJP's wild card entry, former IAS officer Kiran Bedi?

Or will it be Congress' Ajay Maken, the former Union Minister who is the chairman of the party’s 101-member campaign committee for Delhi Assembly polls. Maken's entry into the Delhi poll fray also marks dawn of a new leadership in Delhi after the legacy of three-time Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.

Voter turnout in the national capital will be crucial in tomorrow's poll. In the last Assembly election in Delhi, the city broke records when 66% of the 1.2 crore voters got inked and sealed Delhi's future. That situation worked really well for Arvind Kejriwal.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Last Delhi elections stood out from the rest for many reasons. A new political party with no national presence led the war against price rise and corruption and in a major political bender uprooted the gigantic Congress. Kejriwal had swept Delhi and the three-time chief minister Sheila Dikshit lost by 22,000 votes.

For the first time, nation saw the middle class and the upper middle class come out with this force and vote. Frustrated with Congress' corrupted government, Delhiites exercised their right and threw the party right out. AAP's strength lies in the middle, lower middle and the rural population and the more came out to vote the better it was for the then rookie politician Arvind Kejriwal.

His one-year-old Aam Aadmi Party made a spectacular electoral debut winning 28 of Delhi's 70 seats, just four behind the BJP, which was on top.

What followed were tumultuous 49 days which ended with Arvind Kejriwal disappointing scores of middle and lower middle class voters. While BJP has traditionally been supported by the middle class and the business community, AAP's support base rests on the economically backward section.

BJP, on the other hand, will benefit the most from a lower voter turnout. With almost no clout among the lower middle class of Delhi, the lesser come to vote the better it will be for BJP. Whether the voters decide to give "maafi" to AAP and vote with the same zeal only remains to be seen.

Analysts are seeing the Delhi elections as a direct face-off between AAP and BJP, with Congress nowhere in the picture. The analysts, speaking to Livemint, agreed that voter turnout is the key in this election.

"Higher turnout would indicate more middle class coming out to vote. In the previous assembly election, it helped the AAP but this time it is this section which is the most disillusioned with the party’s street politics, and most voters from this section have shifted to the BJP. So, if the turnout out of the middle class is high, it will help the BJP," Jai Mrug, a Mumbai-based political analyst, was quoted as saying by the Livemint.

Another analyst, speaking to the publication, said that AAP should concentrate on mobilizing the votes of the economically weaker sections who almost never vote if there is no holiday on polling day or because of lack of permissible identity cards.

Meanwhile, a survey done by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) suggested that there will be a significant rise in the number of voters in Delhi, an ANI report said. "Voter turnout in Delhi may rise by about five percent this time round up from 66 percent in 2013 as majority of Delhiites wish for a stable government," the survey said.

The survey interviewed 700 eligible voters, which included equal number of both men and women. Most of the respondents said they want to see formation of a stable government in Delhi and are spreading message about casting their vote. Although, analysts also noted that this year's poll will be the the third election for Delhi in a span of less than 15 months. Voter fatigue may affect the turnout.

While which party scores with the Delhi voters remains to be seen but there was no dearth of excitement in the run-up to the 7 February. High-decibel campaigning, which concluded on Thursday evening, saw almost everything. A crying Kiran Bedi, an apologetic Arvind Kejriwal who said, "Galti ho gayi, maaf kardo" to the public for resigning just after 49 days as the Chief Minister of Delhi and Rahul Gandhi targeting Narendra Modi.


Updated Date: Feb 07, 2015 20:11 PM

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