NEW DELHI: With the hope of electing a stable government, Delhiites on Saturday came out in huge numbers to vote in one of the fiercely contested Assembly elections. Till last count, the voting percentage was 67.08 per cent, with both Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and BJP claiming victory.
However, most of the exit polls telecast by TV channels at the end of voting at 6 pm predicted a clear majority for the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP.
Today’s Chanakya gave a whopping 48 seats to AAP, with the BJP a distant second with 22 seats and zero seats to Congress in the 70-member Assembly. While India Today-Cicero gave between 38 and 46 seats to AAP, BJP got between 19 and 27 seats, while the Congress got 3–5 seats. ABP-Nielsen gave 43 seats to AAP, 26 to BJP and 1 to the Congress.
If one were to go by the exit polls results, Kejriwal could return to head the Delhi government after a gap of one year, since he resigned from the CM’s post on February 14, last year. However, one may have to wait till the counting on Tuesday when it will become clear if the BJP’s last-minute bet in the form of former IPS officer-turned-activist Kiran Bedi being made chief ministerial candidate proves to be appropriate.
The exit polls further predicted the decimation of Congress, which got eight seats in 2013. This time, the surveys said it will manage only a distant third position. In 2013, AAP had secured 28 seats, while the BJP and allies got 32, and two seats went to others.
Though early in the day booths were found deserted, eventually polling gathered momentum. The leaders of all the three major parties voted early in the day. Kejriwal reached to cast his vote at a school in BK Dutt Colony where hundreds descended for a glimpse of the man who could be the CM again.
One of the most-intensely contested elections ever, the electioneering witnessed abusive campaigns and muscle power with 15 FIRs of physical assault being registered against the three parties.
Chief Election Officer Chandra Bhushan Kumar said that till 9 am there was only 5.40 per cent voters turnout and it increased to 19.59 per cent around 11 am. “At 1 pm, there was a 35.82 per cent voter turnout and it went up to 51.15 per cent by 3 pm. Till 5 pm, 63.38 per cent turnout was recorded and it later increased to 67 per cent,” he said.