High profile New Delhi seat where Congress candidate and former Union minister Ajay Maken is taking on BJP sitting MP Meenakshi Lekhi.
New Delhi: Amid reports of EVM glitches, the national capital recorded about 61 per cent polling on Sunday. But the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 had seen a turnout of 65.10 per cent. There are indications of a direct fight between the Congress and the BJP in four constituencies and that of a triangular fight between these parties and newbie AAP in the remaining three seats.
At present, all the seven sitting MPs are from the BJP. But in 2009, these seats had been captured by the Congress. The main question during this election was whether the absence of a tie-up between the Congress and the AAP would benefit the BJP and spell doom for the Opposition parties. The stakes are also high for both the Congress and the AAP as the former is desperately trying to make a comeback and the latter has to regain its hold on its vote bank which helped it to sweep 67 of the 70 Assembly seats.
All eyes are now on the Northeast constituency, where Congress state chief and three-time chief minister Sheila Dikshit has been pitted against BJP state unit head and sitting MP Manoj Tiwari. The AAP had fielded its strategist Dilip Pandey in the constituency. The constituency, which witnessed the highest 63 per cent polling, has a decisive number of Muslim voters in Mustafabad, Jaffarabad and Seelampur. Both Ms Dikshit and Mr Tiwari claimed that their respective parties will sweep all the seven seats.
Asked about the enthusiasm in her party, Ms Dikshit said: “We are on top of the world. We will win seven seats.” Her rival, Mr Tiwari claimed that the BJP would emerge victorious in all the seven seats.
But the high profile New Delhi seat where Congress candidate and former Union minister Ajay Maken is taking on BJP sitting MP Meenakshi Lekhi, witnessed the lowest voter turnout of 56.5 per cent.
As voting began at 7 am, President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M. Venkiah Naidu, Congress president Rahul Gandhi accompanied by Mr Maken, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi accompanied by Ms Dikshit, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra accompanied by her husband Robert and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, were among the noted personalities who cast their vote.
After voting, Ms Priyanka hugged and greeted her 90-year-old neighbour Jwala Devi, who has been living outside her Lodhi Estate residence for the past 20 years.
Polling also started late on some booths while there were reports of EVM malfunctioning in different parts of the city. According to chief electoral officer Ranbir Singh, as many as 568 EVMs reported some technical glitches. A number of people also complained that they could not vote as their names were not on the voters’ list.
AAP’s Malviya Nagar MLA Somnath Bharti tweeted: “EVM in booth 132, Hauzrani is showing 50 votes without anyone casting any vote in the machine. EVM’s at booths 116, 117 and 122 in Malviya Nagar not functioning.” Delhi home minister Satyendar Jain said that voting started 50 minutes late at three polling booths.
Transgender voters excited
Excited about casting their votes under their chosen gender identity for the first time in the general elections, the transgender voters in the national capital flaunted their inked fingers and expressed hope for a government which ensures them a better future.
This is the first time that transgenders are casting their votes under the category after Supreme Court declared them as the “third gender” in 2014. Earlier, they had to cast their votes as male or female.
For 32-year-old Janasheen, it was an incredible experience. “I have voted before but this is the first time I am voting as a transgender, an identity which I am proud of now. I have also posted a selfie on my WhatsApp status with my inked finger,” Janasheen said.
Sapna Bai, a transgender who cast her vote in Matia Mahal, said: “I am very happy that I can cast my vote as what I really am. I want a new government which thinks about us and also considers us equally on their agenda.”