NEW DELHI, Feb 7
Voting in single-phase Assembly elections in Delhi is set to be held on February 8 (Saturday), while counting of votes will take place on February 11, (Tuesday). This year, the 70- membered Assembly polls in the National Capital will see a triangular contest between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress. The ruling Aam Aadmi Party (APP) is set to make a determined bid to return to power while the BJP seeks for a win after losing to AAP in the 2013 and 2015 polls. In the 2015 Assembly polls, the AAP won 67 seats, leaving just three for the BJP
Voting is scheduled to begin at 8 am and end by 6 pm at all polling booths, the Election Commission of India said. The term for the current Delhi Legislative Assembly ends on February 22.
This year, Delhi's Chief Electoral Officer, has roped in six celebrities from sports, media and classical dance fields as poll brand ambassadors to create awareness among voters. In order to attract people to vote in large numbers, the Delhi CEO has adopted campaigns like 'Delhi Ka Voter' and 'Delhi Ka Dabang'.
“To attract people at polling stations, 70 Model Polling Stations (one in each constituency) are being set up and all booths in these polling stations would not only have facilities such as medical kit, creche, ramp, wheelchairs, pick up and drop for elderly like other booths, but they would be highly decorated and made attractive in every sense," said Delhi Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ranbir Singh
According to the data provided by the Election Commission, there are a total of 1,46,92,136 voters in Delhi, comprising of 80.55 lakh male and 66.35 lakh female population. There are 58 general category seats, 12 for Scheduled Castes and none for Scheduled Tribes in Delhi Assembly.
In a unique initiative to create awareness among voters to exercise their voting rights, Delhi Chief Electoral office has tied up with Delhi Metro and 17 Metro Trains would carry awareness campaigns. Similarly at several Metro Stations would also display awareness advertisement issued by the electoral office.
The Model Code of Conduct is already in effect in Delhi after Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora's announcement on February 3. Arora said that 90,000 policemen will be deployed for the smooth conduct of Delhi election. There are 13,750 polling stations in Delhi.
Delhi elections, this time, would pass on some strong social messages to the people. In each district, one booth will be entirely managed by Persons with Disability (PwD). There will be 11 such booths.
"Women would take a lead in 380 Model booths and apart from polling activities, even security will entirely be their responsibility. At 11 booths, one in each district, voters would have unique experience tech-driven exercise when QR Code would facilitate the entire process of voting," said Delhi CEO.
The Congress, which ruled the National Capital for three consecutive terms from 1998 to 2013, is for the first time contesting the Delhi Assembly polls in alliance with another party, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). Lalu Prasad Yadav-led RJD had initially demanded 10 percent seats in Delhi from the Congress, but it was finally decided that the party would contest in four constituencies — Burari, Kirari, Palam and Uttam Nagar. Out of the four seats RJD got in the pre-poll alliance, the party had earlier unsuccessfully contested in Kirari, Burari and Palam seats.
In an unusual twist, BJP's age-old ally, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), is not contesting along with the saffron party this time. Instead, the BJP has given the remaining three seats to JD(U) and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP).
AAP was the first to announce its candidates for all 70 Assembly segments on 14 January. In the first list, BJP had released 57 names which included AAP rebel Kapil Mishra and BJP veteran Vijender Gupta. After the second list, the total candidate count of the BJP has now gone up to 67. The Congress has named candidates on 67 seats, with Romesh Sabharwal competing against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.