Delhi goes to polls under shadow of Mumbai terror (Lead)November 29th, 2008 - 10:27 am ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Nov 29 (IANS) Even as the terror drama in India’s fianancial capital came to an end Saturday after a 59-hour standoff between the security forces and militants, polling began in 69 assembly constituencies of the national capital.The polling booths opened at 8 a.m. but few people ventured out of their homes to cast their votes with the images of the Mumbai terror attacks, which claimed 148 lives, still fresh in their minds. Poll officials said they expected voting to pick up by noon.
Polling for one seat has been deferred due to the death of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Puran Chand Yogi.
The Delhi Metro began started its service at 4 a.m instead of the usual 6 a.m. to facilitate people travelling to various polling booths. Over 10.5 million people 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 party has fielded 15 candidates while Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) will be contesting 10 seats.