Lok Sabha Election Phase 6: Delhi records 53.73% turnout till 5 pm, highest in North East Delhi seat

A voter turnout of 53.73 per cent was recorded till 5 pm in Delhi on Saturday, with people braving scorching heat to exercise their franchise in the seven Lok Sabha constituencies.

Delhi had witnessed 60.52 per cent voting in the 2019 general election when the BJP had swept all the seats.

The office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) said that 53.73 per cent turnout had been recorded till 5 pm with one hour left for the official closure time. The highest turnout of 57.97 per cent was recorded in the North East Delhi constituency, while the New Delhi seat had the lowest voting percentage at 50.44.

Chandni Chowk recorded 53.27 per cent polling, East Delhi 53.69 per cent, North West Delhi 53.17 per cent, West Delhi 54.15 per cent and South Delhi 51.84 per cent.

President Droupadi Murmu, Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Chief Election Commissioner of India Rajiv Kumar were among those who exercised their voting right in the national capital.

“I have fulfilled my duty as a citizen of the country. I have already said this is the biggest duty of a citizen,” said the CJI after casting his vote at a polling booth in Lions Vidya Mandir Secondary School in the New Delhi constituency.

Union ministers S Jaishankar and Hardeep Singh Puri, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were among those who cast their votes.

Poll officials said there were no reports of technical snags or delays in the commencement of voting at any polling station.

However, CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat alleged she had to wait for almost an hour to cast her vote as the battery of the EVM control unit at her polling booth at St Columba’s School in the New Delhi constituency “drained out”.

“We came to vote, they are saying that the machine’s battery is down. If the machine’s battery is down early in the morning, imagine what is the condition of the Election Commission,” Karat said.

Responding to Karat’s allegation, the District Election Officer, New Delhi, said in a post on X that the battery of the control unit had drained out around 10 am and it was replaced within 15 minutes.

Delhi ministers Atishi and Saurabh Bharadwaj also complained about alleged irregularities.

“Worrying news coming from different parts of Delhi … In Captain Anuj Nayyar School in Janakpuri, the presiding officer tried to get the polling agents to sign the Form 17(C) in the morning itself,” Atishi claimed in a post on X.

“In Govt School No 3 Kalkaji, an election officer has just come and given directions that polling agents cannot note down any data. Is the plan to manipulate voting numbers by the @ECISVEEP?” she asked.

An official at the Delhi CEO’s office said poll personnel have been asked to check the complaints.

Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal who cast his vote in Chandni Chowk parliamentary constituency along with his wife Sunita Kejriwal, father and two children, said he voted against “dictatorship, inflation and unemployment”.

In a post in Hindi on X, appealed to the people to vote and urge their family members, relatives and friends to also exercise their franchise.

“I understand people in large numbers are voting against dictatorship, inflation and unemployment because they are highly troubled,” he said.

Delhi has been reeling from heatwave conditions and a ‘yellow’ warning was in place for the day, with the Met Office predicting that the mercury was likely to reach a maximum of 44 degrees Celsius.

The Delhi poll body has said that it has made arrangements for the voters to beat the scorching heat.

Jaishankar, the first voter at Atal Adarsh Vidyalaya, APJ Abdul Kalam Lane, in the New Delhi constituency, told PTI Videos, “We want the people to come out in large numbers to vote because it is a time to take a big decision for the country.” Puri said it’s a very good feeling to be able to reach the polling booth half an hour before the gates open and to participate in the world’s largest carnival and celebration of democracy.

AAP’s South Delhi candidate Sahi Ram Pahalwan, the BJP’s Chandni Chowk nominee Praveen Khandelwal and its New Delhi hopeful Bansuri Swaraj were also among the early voters.

AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP Swati Maliwal also cast her vote in the New Delhi constituency.

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, her husband Robert Vadra along with their son Raihan and daughter Miraya, too cast their votes at a polling station on Lodhi Road in New Delhi constituency.

Miraya Vadra, a first-time voter, said, “My only message to the youth is to come out and vote. It is our job to make a change, so we need to come out and do it.”‘ “It’s hot but we get this chance every five years to directly effect a change and participate in democracy. So, everyone should come out and vote,” Raihan Vadra said.

A total of 1.52 crore voters — 82 lakh men, 69 lakh women and 1,228 from the third gender category — were eligible to cast their votes at more than 13,000 polling booths across the seven constituencies, officials said.

The BJP won all seven seats in Delhi in the 2014 and 2019 elections and is aiming for a clean sweep for the third consecutive time.

INDIA bloc partners AAP and the Congress are contesting the elections in Delhi under a four-three seat-share formula.

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