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BJP, AAP Keep Fingers Crossed as Delhi Goes to Polls Today

Polling will take place at 12,177 polling stations, of which 714 have been identified as \'critical\'. Of these, 191 are \'highly critical.\'

Published: 07th February 2015 07:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th February 2015 08:10 AM   |  A+A-

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By PTI

NEW DELHI: Delhi goes to polls on Saturday to elect a new Assembly in a high-voltage battle between BJP and a resurgent AAP, billed as a referendum on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a description rejected by his party leaders. 

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Over 1.33 crore electorate will decide the fate of 673 candidates in the fray for the Delhi Assembly elections.      

Polling will take place at 12,177 polling stations, of which 714 have been identified as "critical". Of these, 191 are "highly critical".     

Security has been beefed up in the national capital to avoid any untoward incident during polling between 8 AM and 6 PM to check misuse of money and liquor to influence voters.         

As the number of critical polling booths has increased by 107 since the last Assembly elections, the number of security personnel has also gone up in the national capital.     

The battle for control over the national capital saw Aam Aadmi Party giving a tough fight to the BJP which has staked its all on Modi's image.          

The BJP, which is out of power in Delhi for the last 16 years, made a gamble by bringing in former Team Anna member Kiran Bedi into the party and made her its Chief Ministerial candidate which is said to have triggered discontent among the party leaders and rank and file.         

As detractors gunned for BJP saying the results would be a referendum on the performance of the government under Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley rejected such a theory saying the contest between BJP and the AAP was a "choice between governance and anarchy".     He rejected the referendum theory saying "a referendum is a referendum and an election is an election".        

Meanwhile, Imam Bukhari of Delhi's historic Jama Masjid issued a statement asking Muslims to vote for AAP, but the party rejected it saying it does not subscribe to his "communal" politics.     

The BJP strategy has been countered by Kejriwal-led AAP which has put up a spirited campaign in a bid to stop the Modi juggernaut that has been on a roll ever since the Lok Sabha election victory in May last year. 

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BJP leaders Amit Shah and union minister M Venkaiah Naidu had already dismissed projections that the Delhi election is a referendum on Modi, which critics see as an attempt to shield the prime minister from criticism in case of defeat.    

The Congress, which had ruled Delhi for 15 years till December, 2013 has been projected way behind AAP and BJP in pre-poll surveys. Some opinion polls have given AAP a clear majority while a few have predicted BJP's win.