Lok Sabha polls: Voters queue up at polling booths in Delhi; Jaishankar, Puri, Atishi cast votes

New Delhi, May 25 (PTI) Polling began for the seven Lok Sabha constituencies in Delhi on Saturday, with people queuing up outside booths across the city from early morning to escape the summer heat.

The early morning voters included Union ministers S Jaishankar and Hardeep Singh Puri, Delhi Minister Atishi, outgoing East Delhi MP Gautam Gambhir, and candidates of different parties.

President Droupadi Murmu also cast her vote 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 is making 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.

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.

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.

AAP has fielded Kuldeep Kumar from the East Delhi constituency, Mahabal Mishra from West Delhi, Somnath Bharti from New Delhi and Pahalwan from South Delhi.

The Congress has nominated JP Agarwal from the Chandni Chowk seat, Kanhaiya Kumar from North East Delhi and Udit Raj from North West Delhi.

The BJP candidates are Manoj Tiwari from North East Delhi, the only sitting MP to be renominated by the party, Ramvir Singh Bidhuri from South Delhi, Swaraj from New Delhi, Harsh Deep Malhotra from East Delhi, Yogendra Chandolia from North West Delhi, Khandelwal from Chandni Chowk and Kamaljeet Sehrawat from West Delhi.

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