Security tightened for vote count across seven centres in Delhi

Over 7,000 personnel deployed; 200 CCTV cameras installed at each counting centre; EVMs and VVPATs will be de-sealed in the presence of candidates in fray
Police officers stand outside a counting centre where EVMs are kept ahead of the counting day
Police officers stand outside a counting centre where EVMs are kept ahead of the counting day Photo | Shekhar Yadav, EPS

NEW DELHI: The Delhi Police has made stringent security arrangements in the city for Tuesday for counting of over 89.21 lakh votes that will begin at 8 am across the seven constituencies of Delhi.

According to the officials, overall 7,000 police personnel will be deployed at seven designated centres across the national capital to maintain law and order during the process. “Each counting centre will be manned by 1000 police personnel,” they said.

The location of these counting centres are -- SKV, Bharat Nagar in Chandni Chowk; ITI, Nand Nagri in North East Delhi; Sports Complex, CWG Village in East Delhi; Atal Adarsh Balika Vidyalaya, Gole Market in New Delhi; DTU, Shahbad Daulatpur in Northwest Delhi; NSUT, Dwarka in West Delhi; and Jijabai ITI for Women, Siri Fort in South Delhi.

The counting of votes will begin as early as 8 am on Tuesday, 10 days after the fate of 162 candidates in fray was sealed after a long high-voltage shrill campaign of 84 days.

Around 21 to 28 rounds of counting will take place to count a total of 89,21,495 votes that were cast by 58.69 per cent electorates, which includes 59.03 per cent men, 58.29 per cent women and 28.01 third gender individuals.

A senior Delhi Police officer said every polling station will be having a three layered security with two companies of the paramilitary force at the inner portion and personnel of the Delhi Armed Police (DAP) and local police at its outer layer.

“Around 200 CCTV cameras have been installed at each counting centre,” the officer said, adding that they will have a hawk eye vigil in sensitive areas to avoid any kind of untoward situation.

Meanwhile, poll officials informed that digital monitors will be set up outside the counting centres to share the trends and announcements will be made through mic on the candidates leading or trailing in the initial trends.

Seven returning officers will head a team of dozens of assistant officers and observers, who will oversee the counting of votes in their respective constituencies.

The strong rooms where the polled EVMs have been stored since May 25 will be opened around 6.30 am in the presence of the candidates in fray and party representatives. The counting is expected to be completed sooner in the New Delhi constituency where only 8,45,285 votes were cast. The North-east Delhi constituency may take more time in the counting of votes as it recorded the highest number of voter turnout with 15,49,202 votes.

The BJP is contesting all seven seats, AAP four — South Delhi, East Delhi, New Delhi and West Delhi —while its partner Congress has fielded candidates in North East, Chandni Chowk and North West Delhi parliamentary constituencies.

As soon as the elections came near, the BJP which had swept the 2019 polls in Delhi with an emphatic 7-0 victory, was confident enough to repeat its stellar performance.

But as the poll bugle was sounded and the campaign proceeded further, the political tide kept changing its direction regularly, with some unexpected twists and turns like the arrest of CM Kejriwal and later his release at a very crucial time which completely changed the political environment into an intense contest.

Delhi has just 7 of the 543 parliamentary seats. The number 7 may not look much significant in a numbers game but when it comes to the seven Lok Sabha constituencies of the Capital, they always manage to punch above their weight in terms of importance.

While BJP has remained hopeful to repeat its stellar performance of last elections, the INDIA bloc, banks on the multiple issues like anti-incumbency, inflation and rise in unemployment that may hamper the poll prospects of the saffron party.

The hopes of both the parties to clinch the contest have remained on the firmament of their expectations throughout the campaign. However, the recently released multiple Exit Polls by several pollsters has probably indicated the direction in which the people of Delhi might have voted.

Shortly after voting for the seventh phase, various news channels predicted between five -seven seats for BJP while nil and two seats to the INDIA bloc in Delhi. Political analysts believe that the AAP-Congress alliance has helped to stop the division of anti-BJP votes, which is nearly 40-45 per cent.

Congress candidate JP Aggarwal appears to be giving a tough fight to BJP’s Praveen Khandelwal in Chandni Chowk while on the other hand another close contest is in the offing for the New Delhi seat.

In 2014 as well as in 2019, the BJP bagged all seven seats of the national capital with a significant margin. Though the last two elections were contested by the AAP and Congress separately, this time they were in alliance.

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The New Indian Express