NEW DELHI: With the national capital counting down to D-Day, tight security arrangements were put in place at various centres where votes polled in the high-stakes Assembly elections will take place on Tuesday.
There’s been a growing curiosity on what the harvest will be on counting day ever since the exit polls gave a clear and comfortable majority to the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). The ‘delay’ by the Election Commission in announcing the final voter turnout, coupled with a statement from Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, terming it ‘absolutely shocking’, has only got tongues wagging.
The election, largely seen as a battle between the AAP and the BJP, both of whom took an aggressive tone during the high-octane campaign, was held on Saturday, sealing the fate of 672 candidates — 593 men and 79 women.
Nearly 24 hours after the polling ended in Delhi, the Election Commission on Sunday announced that the final voter turnout was 62.59 per cent, five per cent less than 2015, and asserted that it followed the laid down process to compile data, after the AAP questioned the ‘delay’.
Authorities in the Delhi CEO Office are gearing up for the counting of votes and adequate arrangements have been made at the centres, spread across 21 locations in the national capital, spanning 11 districts, officials said.
The counting centres are located at CWG Sports Complex in East Delhi, NSIT Dwarka in West Delhi, Meerabai Institute of Technology and G B Pant Institute of Technology in Southeast Delhi, Sir CV Raman ITI, Dheerpur in Central Delhi, and Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Bawana in North Delhi, among other places. There will be 33 counting observers, officials said.
There were 13,780 polling booths where every vote was accounted for by the presiding officers which is a time-consuming exercise, Sandeep Saxena, Senior Deputy Election Commissioner, said at a press conference on Sunday. Critical and vulnerable polling locations numbered 545 and spanned 3,843 booths.
In view of the ongoing anti-citizenship law protest at Shaheen Bagh, the Delhi CEO’s Office had put all five polling stations in the area under the ‘critical’ category.
Security personnel kept guard at strong rooms storing electronic voting machines (EVMs). Chief Electoral Officer Ranbir Singh had said a day ahead of the polls that all EVMs have been tested and they are “foolproof”.