The high-pitched battle that saw BJP aggressively campaigning to stop Congress from getting a fourth consecutive term and greenhorn AAP, trying to corner both traditional political parties on corruption issue, culminated with nearly 80 lakh out of the 1.19 crore voters deciding the fate of 810 candidates. 60 voting machines replaced during polls (Agencies)
While Congress was seeking another term under Sheila Dikshit, BJP and AAP were led by their chief ministerial candidates Harsh Vardhan and bureaucrat-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal respectively for the 70-member assembly.
"The turnout has been around 66 percent. The election was incident free," Delhi's Chief Electoral officer Vijay Dev said addressing a press conference.
Nearly 70,000 people were standing in queue around 6 PM, he said.
The turnout was a record in all elections in Delhi including assembly and Lok Sabha polls in last two decades. In 2008 assembly polls, the overall voting percentage was 57.58 while in 2003, it was 53.42 percent.
Vice President Hamid Ansari, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, Dikshit, Kejriwal and Vardhan were among the early voters.
Facing the toughest battle of her political career, Dikshit said she has kept her "fingers crossed" on the outcome of the election.
Price rise and anti-incumbency are seen as major issues that may trouble Congress which is in power in the city for the past 15 years.
After casting her vote, Sonia exuded confidence of her party's fourth straight victory in the Delhi polls.
"We will win," she said with a smile after casting her vote at Nirman Bhavan polling booth.
Rahul said Dikshit has "done a lot of good work in Delhi. I think she will do well."
There were reports of malfunctioning of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in some parts of the city but they were rectified, election officials said. The EVM at polling booth in Aurangazeb Lane, where Rahul cast his vote, malfunctioned when polling began.
In Jungpura, Badli and Krishna Nagar constituencies, some voters complained that their names have been struck from the electoral rolls and they could not vote.
Elaborate security arrangements were made in the capital with deployment of 32,801 personnel of Delhi Police and 10,700 central paramilitary force personnel to ensure peaceful elections.
The voting began at 8 AM at 11,753 polling booths out of which 630 have been identified as critical and hyper critical. The Election Commission has appealed to people not to carry mobile phones while going to cast their votes.
A total of 1.19 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise, out of which 66.11 lakh are men and 53.20 lakh are women. The number of first time voters is 4.05 lakh.
810 candidates are in the fray in the three-cornered contest between Congress, BJP and AAP.
While BJP has fielded candidates in 66 constituencies Congress and AAP are contesting from all 70 seats.
BSP, which was the third largest party in last Assembly elections, has fielded candidates in 69 seats, NCP in nine and Samajwadi Party in 27 seats. A total of 224 independents are also in the fray.
The entry of Kejriwal's AAP has changed the dimension of the election and it will be interesting to see whether the newbie will just be a "spoiler" or win some seats as predicted by opinion polls, riding on its anti-corruption plank.
The elections in Delhi and four other states are being seen as the semi-final for the Lok Sabha polls to be held next year.
The stakes in this election are high for three-time Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who mainly highlighted her achievements and development agenda during the campaigning, while BJP's Chief Ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan promised to cut power tariff by 30 percent and slash vegetable prices within 30 days of coming to power.
The BJP has also promised to give 12 subsidized LPG cylinders in a year to each household instead of current nine, besides ensuring full statehood. It has also promised to set up a dedicated Women Security Force to ensure safety of women.
In its manifesto, Congress has promised to set up a Single Command System to address the problems of multiplicity of authorities and a common economic zone for the entire National Capital Region to minimize load on Delhi's infrastructure. It has also promised to construct double-decker flyovers to ease traffic congestion.
The AAP said it will pass the Jan Lokpal Bill within 15 days of coming to power, besides promising to cut power tariff by 50 percent. It said 700 litres of water per day will be given free to each household.
A total of 60 Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were replaced before and during polling in all the constituencies in the capital, said an election commission officer.
"In ward number AC 55 (Trilokpuri), eight EVMs have been replaced, whereas in ward number AC 67 (Babarpur Shahdara), four EVMs were replaced. This is in addition to the four being replaced in both ward AC 52 (Tughlakabad) and AC 23 (Karol Bagh). We have enough EVM backups to conduct the polls in a peaceful manner," said Additional Chief Electoral Officer Neeraj Bharti.
The high-pitched battle that saw BJP aggressively campaigning to stop Congress from getting a fourth consecutive term and greenhorn AAP, trying to corner both traditional political parties on corruption issue, culminated with nearly 80 lakh out of the 1.19 crore voters deciding the fate of 810 candidates.
60 voting machines replaced during polls