Mumbai on its mind, Delhi votes on security, price rise

November 29th, 2008 - 4:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyNew Delhi, Nov 29 (IANS) The Mumbai terror attack weighed heavily on the minds of Delhi residents Saturday as they cast their ballot for a new assembly. Be it a 74-year-old woman or a teenager casting his vote for the first time, people voted as much for peace and security as they did for issues like development and price rise.”I have voted for change and want the government to look seriously at issues such as terrorism and price rise,” college student Mayank Sharma, 19, who was excited about voting for the first time, told IANS.

Sharma came to vote with his parents at around 9 a.m. Saturday, around the time when the terror siege of Mumbai that had begun Wednesday night came to an end. People here have been glued to TV for hours on end, with channels giving live coverage of the tragedy that claimed at least 152 lives.

Vidhu Aggarwal, another teenager and first-time voter in east Delhi, said: “I was quite hurt by the way the Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress played politics over the Mumbai terror attack.

“I also didn’t like the BJP’s campaign message ‘Mehengi Padi Congress’. They should have said what they have to offer,” said Vidhu, adding, “but I have voted for the BJP after all as it is the only party that deserved it.”

At least 10.7 million people were eligible to exercise their franchise in an exercise that began at 8 a.m and would go on till 5 p.m. Voting is being held for 69 seats, with election deferred for one constituency.

People voted quite enthusiastically and some even came with their children to show them the electoral process. The cold winds early morning could not hold the voters back.

“I voted for the Congress because I am afraid that its biggest rival, with its pro-Hindutva line, will only try to divide communities, perhaps even more so after the Mumbai episode,” said Kaveri Basu, a resident of Vasant Kunj in south Delhi.

Of course, there were those who voted not just for the party but also for the candidate.

“I voted for the Congress for continuity. The candidate was the sitting MLA who has done good work in our area. There was an inclination not to vote for the ruling party after the Mumbai attack, but I ignored that factor,” said Ranjana Kapoor, a resident of Gulmohar Park in south Delhi.

Santosh Shukla, 74, who came out to vote in the morning, said: “The issues to be considered for this election were enormous. I had voted for the Congress in two previous elections, but this time I have decided to change as I thought others should also be given a chance to prove themselves.”

Some were too disillusioned by the Mumbai terror to vote.

S.P. Ganguly, a professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, said: “This is the first time in many years that I haven’t voted because after what has happened in Mumbai I feel that our lives don’t count for those at the helm.”

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