Lok Sabha polls: Delhi records 8.94 pc turnout in first two hours, highest in North East Delhi seat

New Delhi, May 25 (PTI) A voter turnout of 8.94 per cent was recorded till 9 am in Delhi, where polling is underway for its seven Lok Sabha constituencies on Saturday.

The Delhi Chief Electoral Officer said that at 10.15 per cent, the highest turnout was recorded in the North East Delhi constituency while New Delhi had the lowest voting percentage till 9 am at 7.04 per cent.

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, who had gone to cast her vote at St Thomas School in New Delhi, said she could not vote due to a snag.

“The battery of the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) was down, that’s why I could not vote but I will come again,” she said.

She also questioned the arrangements made by the Election Commission.

“It is now 9:15 am but I am being told that the battery of the machine (EVM) is down,” she said.

Union ministers S Jaishankar and Hardeep Singh Puri, Delhi Minister Atishi, outgoing East Delhi MP Gautam Gambhir, and candidates of different parties cast their votes early in the morning.

President Droupadi Murmu and Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar also cast their votes in the New Delhi constituency, officials said.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, 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.

“…Each vote cast by you in this great festival of democracy will be against the authoritarian mindset and strengthen democracy and the Constitution of India. Go to the polling stations and assert that there is democracy in India and democracy will remain in India through your votes,” Kejriwal said.

A ‘yellow’ warning is in place for the day and the Met office has predicted that the mercury is 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.

People were seen queuing up outside the more than 13,000 polling booths across the seven constituencies even before the commencement of voting at 7 am.

Jaishankar, the first voter at Atal Adarsh Vidyalaya, APJ Abdul Kalam Lane, in the New Delhi constituency, told PTI Videos, “We want that people come out in large numbers to vote because it a time to take a big decision for the country.”

Puri cast his vote at Mount Carmel School, Anand Niketan, in the New Delhi constituency.

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, he said.

Atishi cast her vote at Nigam Pratibha Vidyalaya, Kalkaji B Block, in the South Delhi constituency. AAP Rajya Sabha MP Swati Maliwal also cast her vote.

Gambhir appealed to people to exercise their franchise after casting his vote at the Government Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalya.

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

“I want to appeal to the residents of Delhi to cast their votes as it is a big festival of the country,” Pahalwan said.

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Robert Vadra’s daughter Miraya Vadra, who voted for the first time, said, “I came came all the way from college to vote. So, everyone should come out and vote.”

“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,” she said.

Her brother Raihan Vadra, a second-time voter, expressed hope that everyone will come out and vote.

He cast his vote at a polling booth at Lodhi Road under the New Delhi constituency.

“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,” he said.

Voting is underway peacefully with no reports of any untoward incidents.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central) M Harsha Vardhan said, “It is an important task for us to conduct free and fair elections. It is a matter of great pride for everyone involved in the process.”

“We have made good arrangements. We are seeing great enthusiasm among the officials and the voters. We look forward to a day of good voter turnout and encourage everyone to vote,” he added.

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

There are more than 2.52 lakh first-time voters this time.

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

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

This is the first Lok Sabha election in Delhi in which AAP and the Congress have fielded joint candidates.

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