Polling began Sunday morning in all seven Lok Sabha constituencies here in the sixth phase of general elections, with prominent names including former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, Union minister Harsh Vardhan and cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir in the fray. Over 1.43 crore people in Delhi are eligible to vote in this election which will decide the fate of 164 candidates, of which 18 are women. There are 43 independent candidates.
The seven constituencies in Delhi are voting alongside 14 seats in Uttar Pradesh, 10 in Haryana, eights each in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal, and four in Jharkhand. Voting began at 7 am on and it is scheduled to go on till 6 pm. Besides Dikshit, who is pitted against BJP lawmaker Manoj Tiwari (from North East Delhi), BJP's sitting MP Meenakshi Lekhi (New Delhi seat), Olympian boxer Vijender Singh (South Delhi), who is making his electoral debut, and AAP's Atishi are also trying their luck. While the BJP, which had won all seven seats in the 2014 polls, is keen to regain the turf, the Congress, that ended up at the third spot in the last Lok Sabha elections, is looking to bounce back.
Delhi CEO Ranbir Singh has said all arrangements for voters have been made and paramilitary personnel have been deployed at critical polling stations to ensure smooth polling. Singh said special facilities have been provided for voters with disability and 17 all-women-staffed polling stations have been set up. In 2014, the voter turnout in Delhi was 65.07 per cent -- 66 per cent for male and 63.93 per cent for female voters. According to the summary of the electoral roll published on April 23, there are over 1.43 crore eligible voters in Delhi -- 78,73,022 male and 64,42,762 female -- while 669 are in the third gender category.
While 2,54,723 voters are in the age group of 18 and 19, there are 40,532 electorate with disability who would be provided pick up and drop facility. A total of 13,819 polling stations have been set up at 2,700 locations in Delhi, with one model polling station in each of the 70 assembly segments. As many as 523 polling locations have been identified as critical and 60,000 personnel, including those of the Delhi Police, Home Guards and paramilitary, will be on their toes to ensure that there is no untoward incident.
(With inputs from agencies.)