Elections

After two ‘wave polls’, Delhi sees lukewarm turnout at 55.6%

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 12, 2019 Published on May 12, 2019

Rahul Gandhi, Congress party president , shows his ink-marked finger after casting his vote at a polling station in New Delhi, on Sunday, May 12, 2019.   -  REUTERS

The voter enthusiasm that broke a 30-year record for Candidate Modi in 2014 and Arvind Kejriwal in 2015 assembly polls seemed to have come down with a lower turnout this year

After the two “wave” elections in 2014 and 2015, voter enthusiasm in Delhi seems to have plateaued in the Capital on Sunday with 55.61 per cent polling, several notches below the records reached in 2014 — with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity — and an even higher surge for Arvind Kejriwal during the 2015 general elections.

During the “Modi wave” in 2014, the polling percentage touched a three-decade high turnout of 65.05 per cent. Similarly, a popular consensus was witnessed around the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Arvind Kejriwal in 2015 Assembly elections, with over 67 per cent turnout.

Delhi is facing a triangular contest with the AAP and the Congress competing for the same voter base — the urban poor, minorities, and a section of the middle class and traders. The BJP continues to hold on to the dominant Punjabi, Sikh, Poorvanchalis migrants, the business community, upper caste and government employees in the inner city constituencies such as New Delhi, Chandni Chowk, West Delhi and the predominant Jats and Gujjar communities in South, North East, North West seats.

Sonia Gandhi, leader of India's main opposition Congress party, shows her ink-marked finger after casting her vote at a polling station during the sixth phase of general election in New Delhi, on May 12, 2019.   -  REUTERS

East Delhi constituency

While, the AAP’s East Delhi candidate Atishi is locked in a bitter contest with BJP’s Gautam Gambhir, the Congress has fielded its old war horse Arvinder Singh Lovely. East Delhi has a large population of voters in slums and rehabilitation colonies besides the more well-planned middle-class residential societies such as Patparganj and Mayur Vihar. In Mayur Vihar, both the AAP and the BJP were excited about better turnout from the middle class colonies.

Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and his wife show their finger marked with indelible ink after casting vote during the sixth phase of Lok Sabha elections, at Greater Kailash in New Delhi, on Sunday, May 12, 2019.   -  PTI

“Atishi has such a good record in education sector. A lot of educated residents in societies such as IFS and Anand Lok are voting for her,” said an AAP volunteer. He was, however, morose about the collapse of the AAP-Congress alliance in Delhi. “We could have won all the seats… A lot of our voters have become confused,” he said.

The Congress had hoped to tie up with the AAP to recover some of its lost ground in Delhi but the alliance talks failed last month and both the parties are contesting the Lok Sabha polls on their own, leaving the BJP to consolidate.

BJP leader Sushma Swaraj after casting her vote in New Delhi on Sunday, May 12, 2019. Photo: Kamal Narang

In some seats, such as North East Delhi, the entry of three-term Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in the fray has brightened Congress’ chances and crushed the hopes of AAP’s Delhi unit convenor Dilip Pandey. The constituency, presently held by popular Bhojpuri singer and BJP MP Manoj Tiwari, has a significant minority population and a large slum cluster. Dikshit, although she has been a rather tepid campaigner at 81, has a lot of goodwill in Delhi especially in this constituency.

Published on May 12, 2019
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