NEW DELHI: In another few hours, the national capital would know who takes the treasury benches in the Assembly and who sits in the opposition for the next five years. Tuesday will mark the culmination of a long-drawn campaign process, which saw the narrative shifting from development and bread and butter issues to Shaheen Bagh, and the polling for 70 Assembly seats.
Going by the exit poll projections, the Congress is already out of the race for the hustings and could yet again fail to open its account, after 2015. The counting of votes will largely pit the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in a direct fight. The counting will kick off at 8 am and clear trends on who is likely to take the Delhi throne will start emerging by 11 am. The final results are likely to be out by the late afternoon.
Delhi’s chief electoral officer has announced elaborate and watertight security arrangements outside all 24 counting centres. A senior official at the CEO’s office said paramilitary force personnel have been deployed, alongside those from the Delhi Police, to guard the EVMs and provide additional security cover to the counting centres. While the Election Commission pegged the final turnout at 62.59 per cent, the Ballimaran Assembly constituency recorded the highest voter count, at 71.16 per cent. Delhi Cantonment saw the lowest, at 45.4 per cent.
The stakes for the House had never been higher, with the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) battling to hold on to the reins of Delhi after being blanked in all seven Lok Sabha seats by the BJP last year and the latter bidding to end its 21-spell out of power. The Congress, too, jumped into the fray, with its hopes clearly resting on the legacy of governance left behind by late former chief minister and party stalwart Sheila Dikshit.
True to the party’s intent to put all its might into the campaign, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP national president JP Nadda, along with phalanx of star campaigners, camped in the city and participated in more than 6,600 small meetings. The AAP countered with its own campaign blitz, focusing on the work done over the last five years and the schemes it introduced for the people. In what was a battle between two contrasting campaign DNAs, the counting day will decide which one prevails.