Delhi enthusiastic, turns up for great polling festival

May 7th, 2009 - 9:35 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 7 (IANS) It was a holiday Thursday, but many Delhi voters still woke up early and queued up at polling stations to beat the crowds and the heat later in the day. Pamphlets lay scattered all around, party workers were busy assisting people and armed security personnel kept a hawk eye.
The scene resembled that of a festival at many polling booths. The capital witnessed over 50 percent of its 11 million voters exercising their franchise in these Lok Sabha elections - higher than 47.09 percent in 2004 and 43.54 percent in 1999.

“I had decided not to cast my vote and instead use the 49-O provision to vote for nobody. However, when I reached the polling station and witnessed the exciting atmosphere, I could not stop myself from voting,” 19-year-old Vidhu Aggarwal told IANS.

Voting begin at 7 a.m. and finished at 5 p.m. for the seven seats in Delhi.

West Delhi and East Delhi constituencies recorded relatively high voter turnouts of 53 and 52.5 percent respectively and the poll proceedings were akin to a festival in these areas, thanks to enthusiastic voters.

Even the old and the ailing came to fulfil their duty.

“I have been voting for several years. I vote so that the development and work for basic amenities never stops. I am a responsible citizen of the country,” 81-year-old Rukmini Devi, who was brought on a wheelchair to the Nirmal Bhawan polling booth in New Delhi constituency, told IANS.

The New Delhi seat where BJP general secretary Vijay Goel has challenged sitting Congress MP Ajay Maken recorded a 50 percent turnout.

To avoid the afternoon heat, some voters decided to vote early in the morning.

“I made it a point to go early to vote as the weather gets hot in the afternoon. I finished all my household chores and after voting, my family planned to go shopping to avail of special discounts given by some shops on polling day,” said Nishta Sharma, a housewife who voted in Vikas Puri of West Delhi constituency.

Shops in Delhi were closed in the morning, but opened at 2 p.m.

Many government officials who were on duty at polling stations made sure that they themselves voted.

“I was on election duty today from 3 p.m., but I made sure I voted as early as possible to avoid the heat and long queues and then take a quick sleep for an hour, have my lunch and go to the polling station for duty,” said Dinesh Kaushik, a central government employee, who lives in Janak Puri area.

A lot of youngsters who were impressed with the Election Commission’s ‘Pappu’ campaign - the name symbolising a character who doesn’t vote - also voted enthusiastically.

“I am voting for the first time and I am doing so as I want development to come into my area. Also, I didn’t wanted to be a ‘Pappu’,” 22-year-old Sadia Mohamamd Khan, a resident of the Johri Farm area and a Delhi University student.

The North-East Delhi also witnessed a moderate turnout of 52 percent. “We belong to this country. We must participate in all activities meant for its development. We should not shy away from our responsibilities,” Umakant Sharma, a resident of Rohtas Nagar in northeast Delhi, told IANS.

North-West Delhi recorded the lower voter turnout in the capital at 45 percent. Delhi has over 11 million voters. The counting of votes will take place May 16.

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