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States » North » DIE


Counting begins for Delhi assembly elections

Counting begins for Delhi assembly elections

New Delhi, Feb 11 (UNI) Counting of votes polled in February 8 high-octane Delhi Assembly elections began here at 0800 hrs on Tuesday, amid elaborate security arrangements.

A total of 672 candidates are in fray, out of which 593 are male and 79 female.

The Aam Aadmi Party is hoping to repeat its stellar performance of the last assembly polls when it won 67 of the 70 seats. Even the exit polls by various television channels, that came immediately after the conclusion of polling, indicated that the ruling party is set to retain power in Delhi for the third consecutive term and that too with a sweeping majority.

To form the government, parties will have to touch the magical number of 36 in the 70-member Assembly.

Delhi police has laid special emphasis for security over the sensitive stir hit zones that have been witnessing protests and unrest here, apart from this, monitoring of many areas will be carried using drones. The security has also been beefed up outside strong rooms.

According to sources, river patrolling using patrol boats is also being done at the points where there is a possibility of intrusion as the city shares borders with other states along the Yamuna river. Around 40,000 personnel have been deployed on specific election duties from the Delhi Police besides 190 companies of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), that have been deployed to prevent any untoward incident.

All necessary measures have also been taken from the anti-terror angle in vulnerable areas, the police said.

The polling, on February 8, had concluded peacefully with a total voter turnout of 62.59 per cent, that was declared on the second day. In the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections, the voter turnout was recorded at 67.12 per cent where AAP registered a landslide victory by winning 67 of 70 seats, while the Bharatiya Janata Party was limited to three seats. Indian National Congress had drawn a blank for first time in national capital elections at that time.

Campaigning in these high octane elections witnessed mudslinging by all the parties, that, at times turned volatile and divisive, and brought in focus, issues like Shaheen Bagh's anti-CAA protest and violence in universities.

The electioneering saw ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) riding on its strong lower-middle class vote bank and promise of continuing the freebies in water and power supply, Congress vowing to bring back Sheila Dixit's era of infrastructure development and BJP branding nationalism and strong Centre-State relations.

The campaign which initially began on key issues of development and education, later shifted to Shaheen Bagh anti-CAA protests with the BJP cornering the Congress and the AAP for supporting the agitation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the star campaigner of the BJP as he addressed two well-attended rallies in the city in a bid to boost his party's electoral chances. Union Home Minister Amit Shah batted on the front foot for the BJP as he undertook door-to-door campaigning in several parts of the Capital as well as visited at least three dozen assembly segments.

Stakes are high even for the century old party -- Congress -- as they were unable to win even a single seat in last assembly polls.

UNI JAL ASN NC0805

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