Voters in Delhi are casting their ballot to choose members for the 70-seat assembly with the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (BJP) looking to retain power with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) trying to snatch the Capital away from it.
More than 14.7 million voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in the bitterly-fought Delhi assembly election in which 672 candidates in the fray. Thousands of security personnel are keeping an eye on the 13,571 polling booths across 2689 areas in the Capital.
The polling will continue till 6pm in the Delhi assembly elections. The votes will be counted on February 11.
Here’s what the AAP and BJP are tackling in the Delhi assembly elections this year:
1. The AAP led by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal wants to repeat its spectacular performance in the 2015 assembly elections, when it won 67 of the 70 seats. It has enumerated the work it has done in the last five years to woo the voters in the Capital.
2. The BJP is looking to unseat the AAP as it hinged its political campaign on the issues of the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act or CAA and national security. The party has called Kejriwal a “terrorist” and accused him of siding with “anti-nationals” in Shaheen Bagh, the heart of protests against CAA in Delhi.
3. That attack continued on the polling day on Saturday as leaders of the BJP picked on the Delhi chief minister over his temple run and his “special appeal” to women voters in the national capital. Union minister Smriti Irani attacked Arvind Kejriwal for what she interpreted what a “sexist” remark as the AAP leader responded saying they know how to vote.
4. The BJP’s Delhi unit chief, Manoj Tiwari, said Kejriwal made the idol of Hanuman “impure” after his visit to the temple dedicated to the Hindu celibate god. In turn, the AAP leader tweeted condemning the BJP’s politics.
5. The Congress, which drew a blank in Delhi after ruling it for 15 years, has been behind in the race with the Delhi assembly polls being seen largely a battle between the AAP and BJP.
6. Congress candidate from Chandni Chowk constituency Alka Lamba made news after she tried to slap an AAP worker who was interrupting her during a media interaction. She accused the worker of making objectionable comments about her son.
7. The five “critical” polling stations in Shaheen Bagh, which has seen women at the forefront of the anti-CAA protests, saw voters pouring in amid tight security. The colony in southeast Delhi has been thrust into the national spotlight as protesters have blocked a major road for months, demanding the repeal of the contentious citizenship act. Two incidents of shooting were reported in the area within a week.
8. Prime Minister Narendra Modi led several political leaders in tweeting to urge people to come out in large numbers to vote in the Delhi assembly elections. The Prime Minister made special mention of his “young friends” as he asked them to exercise their franchise. Union home minister Amit Shah tweeted to appeal to the people “to vote in order to free Delhi from lies and vote bank politics”.
9. The voter turnout, however, was low at nearly 30% at 3pm with just three hours left for polling. Delhi had recorded a voter turnout of 67.12% in the last assembly elections held in 2015.
10. The AAP got 54% votes in the 2015 polls but it dipped to 26% in the municipal elections in 2017 and 18% in the Lok Sabha polls in 2019 when it couldn’t even open its account. Both the BJP and the Congress have improved their vote share in this period. The BJP polled 56% votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, up from 36% in 2017 and 32% in 2015. Congress got just 10% of votes in 2015 but it increased to 21% in 2017 and 23% in 2019.
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