Mumbai standoff over, polling picks up in Delhi (Second Lead)November 29th, 2008 - 12:51 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Nov 29 (IANS) Polling for the Delhi assembly elections, which started on a low key Saturday morning, picked up as the day warmed up with people tearing away from their television sets after the 59-hour long Mumbai terror standoff ended. Polling began at 8 a.m. on a dull note but picked up after an hour as people started coming out to vote after hearing the news that the Mumbai nightmare was finally over.
“I was by the side of my TV set since I woke up watching details of the Mumbai terror attack. It is only after the operation came to an end that I decided to come out and vote,” said Sangita Singh, a resident of south Delhi.
Voting will be held for 69 seats while polling for one seat has been deferred due to the death of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Puran Chand Yogi.
Chief Electoral Officer Satbir Silas Bedi told IANS: ”The voting is being held in peaceful atmosphere at all polling booths in the capital.”
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit cast her vote at 8.30 a.m. in Nirman Bhawan polling booth in her New Delhi constituency, while Priyanka Gandhi, daughter of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, followed after a couple of hours.
Bharatiya Janata Party chief ministerial candidate V.K. Malhotra exercised his franchise just as polling started at 8 a.m. at St. Columbus School near Gol Dak Khana. Congress general secretary and MP from Amethi Rahul Gandhi cast his vote at a polling booth on Aurangzeb lane.
The Delhi Metro started its services at 4 a.m instead of the usual 6 a.m. to facilitate people travelling to various polling booths. An electorate of over 10.5 million will decide the fate of 863 candidates from 69 political parties.
Nearly 52,000 security personnel have been deployed in the capital. A total of 10,993 polling stations have been set up, of which over 1,500 have been declared sensitive and hypersensitive - a five-fold increase over the number in the last election.
The Congress and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are contesting all 69 seats while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is contesting 68 seats. The Nationalist Congress Party has fielded 15 candidates while Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) is contesting for 10 seats.