February 8 saw the people of Delhi come out to vote for all 70 seats in the Delhi Assembly, with voter turnout reported to be around 62.59%. Many popular faces cast their votes and also tried to inspire others, but Delhi saw about a 5% low turnout than the 2015 Delhi elections, and a first time dip in voter turnout since 1998.
The Election Commission (EC) said, in a post-poll press conference, that for the first time, the postal ballot system was introduced for senior citizens, more than 80-years-old, and a pick-and-drop facility had also been introduced.
The EC also said that there were 672 candidates in the poll fray, where 1.48 crore people are eligible voters and more than 84 lakh people have voted. The EC also said that this time the VVPAT failure was reported to be only around 1% as opposed to 12% in the Lok Sabha elections. The Commission also said that it was happy to welcome centenarian voters with bouquets and preferential treatment.
Polling in Delhi started on a controversial note as BJPs’ Manoj Tiwari ‘accused’ Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, of being a “nakli Hindu” (fake Hindu), and CM Kejriwal received a notice from the election commission for posting an allegedly communal video on twitter. After that, Delhi CM Kejriwal and Smriti Irani had a ‘war of words‘ when Kejriwal urged women to vote and ask their family members to vote.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal cast his vote with his family, including his son, Pulkit Kejriwal, who was a first-time voter. CM Arvind Kejriwal said that he is hopeful that the Aam Aadmi Party would form the government for the third time in Delhi. The people of Delhi will vote based on the works done by the AAP government, Kejriwal said after voting along with his wife Sunita and son Pulkit at a polling booth in the Civil Lines area.
Sonia and Priyanka Gandhi also cast their vote along with Rihan Vadra, also a first-time voter. Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said “vibrations” and his “sixth-sense,” told him his party would come to power in the capital.
Once again, BJP MP Parvesh Verma has been accused of making a communal statement, after he said that people of Shaheen Bagh are voting for AAP, so people should come out and vote for BJP and chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’.
#WATCH Delhi: Scuffle breaks out between AAP and Congress workers near Majnu ka Teela, Congress candidate Alka Lamba tries to slap an AAP worker. AAP leader Sanjay Singh has said the party will complain to Election Commission. #DelhiElections2020 (note: abusive language) pic.twitter.com/l5VriLUTkF
— ANI (@ANI) February 8, 2020
According to news reports, INC candidate from Chandni Chowk, Alka Lamba, tried to slap an AAP worker after he allegedly passed a comment on her, after which he was detained by the Police.
But, even after all this, polling has been largely been peaceful in Delhi, which witnessed a very communal campaign amid anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests.
No major complaint regarding the functioning of the EVM was reported, however, the polling started late at a Yamuna Vihar booth because of some technical issue.
The exit polls, most predicting a landslide victory for the AAP, and some critical, have started pouring in. The Times Now polls predicted AAP’s vote share to come around to 51-52% with an expected seat-count between 48-61 seats. The BJP’s vote share as 38-40% with 09-21 seats and INC with a 4-5% vote share and 0-1 seat.
The Delhi CM called a meeting regarding the safety of the EVMs, which was also attended by Prashant Kishore along with senior AAP leaders, and it was decided that the AAP workers were to keep a vigil at all the strongrooms till results will be declared, and in the same way, Amit Shah also called a meet after the polls.
Reacting to the exit polls after the meeting with Amit Shah, the BJP said that it was confident it would form the government. Manoj Tiwari said that exit polls would fail and that the BJP would form the government, with 48 seats.
Union Minister Prakash Javedkar also said that one should wait for the “exact polls” as exit polls could be wrong. During a media interaction, Arvind Kejriwal said that the results would be similar to the exit polls. Also, deputy CM Manish Sisodia said that the AAP will form the government because of its selfless work. INC’s Subhash Chopra said that neither AAP nor BJP will be able to form the government and that the INC would perform well.
By the night of February 9, the fear of EVM replacement or tampering received attraction when AAP MP Sanjay Singh raised the issue of EVM safety and flagged the unauthorised movement of EVMs. One person was allegedly caught with an EVM from the Baburpur constituency.
Meanwhile, a fresh controversy erupted after the Delhi CM tweeted that he was surprised as to why the EC hadn’t declared the official final voting percentage. AAP MP Sanjay Singh has also held a press conference regarding the same.
However, the EC finally responded, 24 hours after voting ended, and denied the claims made by AAP through their videos on instances of EVM tampering, and said that those were reserve EVMs, and there was no instance of illegality. Also, the EC came out with an official figure of voter turnout, 62.59%.
The result is to be declared on February 11, and as of now people, are waiting to see if Arvind Kejriwal will score a ‘hattrick’, or a surprise by the BJP. But, it seems to me like a clear scenario of ‘broom-vroom‘ in Delhi, and ‘advantage Kejriwal‘!