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High turnout puts BJP, AAP in high spirits; Cong on edge 
New Delhi, April 10
Combination of factors which included the anti-Congress mood, support for the newly emerged Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), high-profile campaigning by the principal opposition party BJP in the name of its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and the Election Commission's appeal to voters to exercise their constitutional right, led to a high-octane polling in Delhi recording an almost 65 per cent voting for the seven Lok Sabha constituencies.

Not many opt for NOTA
New Delhi, April 10
The 'None of The Above' (NOTA) option did not find many takers during the general elections in the national Capital today.

South Delhi voters' mood hints at two-sided contest 
New Delhi, April 10
With the mood of the electorate in South Delhi Lok Sabha constituency hinting at a two-corner contest between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Aam Aadmi Party, the Congress appears to be out of the race for the seat owing to strong anti-incumbency both in Delhi and at the Centre.


EARLIER EDITIONS



Voters' enthusiasm high in West Delhi
New Delhi, April 10
Voters' enthusiasm was witnessed in the West Delhi constituency as a large number of people came out since morning to cast their franchise. They were seen standing in queues waiting for their turn with an idea of a change at the helm of affairs.

Youths vote for better education, jobs
New Delhi, April 10
After stepping out from the polling station at Gole Market in Central Delhi with the "indelible ink" mark on his left forefinger and a satisfactory smile on his face, he believes that he has voted for a "good leader". According to this 22-year-old man named Bhanu, voting means choosing a leader who will understand the issues of the people and work for the country.

Old, disabled voters cherish experience
New Delhi, April 10
Voting in the national Capital was a pleasant experience for the elderly and disabled voters who hailed the special initiatives taken by the Delhi Chief Electoral Office.

Tepid response in walled city
New Delhi, April 10
In polling stations located in the walled city areas polling booths were seen empty in the first half. Officials on duty were seen waiting for the electorate that suggested that there was low enthusiasm in Machhali Walan, Churi Walan, Chandni Mahal, Bazar Sita Ram, Ballimaran and other areas.

Foreign delegates observe polling
New Delhi, April 10
A 30-member foreign delegation from 19 countries, including many from Africa, visited some polling stations in the national Capital to observe the Indian democracy at work, said poll officials here.

Discounts, freebies to shopper with inked finger!
New Delhi, April 10
On which filling station would you get that 50 paise discount on petrol, asked a voter at the polling station after casting his vote along with his family members in Capital's South Delhi Lok Sabha constituency.






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High turnout puts BJP, AAP in high spirits; Cong on edge 
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 10
Combination of factors which included the anti-Congress mood, support for the newly emerged Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), high-profile campaigning by the principal opposition party BJP in the name of its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and the Election Commission's appeal to voters to exercise their constitutional right, led to a high-octane polling in Delhi recording an almost 65 per cent voting for the seven Lok Sabha constituencies.

The high turnout, which although could not beat the highest ever of 66 per cent recorded during the last year's Assembly polls, had both the BJP and the AAP enthused, with the Congress lagging far behind. While the BJP is seeking victory riding on the 'Modi wave', AAP is posing a challenge by promising good governance.

Delhi Election Commission officials said 64.77 per cent of 1.27 crore eligible voters had exercised their franchise after the voting ended late into the evening in some parts of Delhi.

In 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the overall voting percentage was recorded at 52.3 per cent, which had increased to 66 per cent in the 2013 Delhi Assembly election in December last year.

BJP, AAP and Congress are engaged in a close fight to win the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi, which is also considered prestigious due to political symbolism. Road to New Delhi is considered passing through Delhi.

Long queues formed outside several polling stations across the national Capital as men and women--the elderly included--turned up in large numbers right from the time polling began at 7 am.

Delhi poll panel officials said that the highest poll percentage was recorded in North East Delhi constituency at 67.07 per cent. It was followed by East Delhi (65.59 per cent), West Delhi (65.64), Chandni Chowk (66.88 per cent), North West Delhi (61.38), New Delhi (65.03) and South Delhi (62.67).

Voter enthusiasm was evident in both the middle class and working class areas. In some places, the queues snaked out of the school buildings where polling stations were set up. Even affluent areas, which are somewhat nonchalant vis-a-vis elections, reported heavy polling.

A total of 150 candidates are in the fray in Delhi, where for the first time there is a three-cornered contest as a result of the emergence of AAP.

The Delhi battle is critical for the Congress, which won all the seven Lok Sabha seats in 2009. It is significant for the BJP which has set itself a target of getting at least 272 seats in a campaign led by Narendra Modi.

Delhi is also crucial for the Aam Aadmi Party, which has to prove that its support base has not eroded since its 49-day minority government went out of office on February 14.

Vice-President Hamid Ansari was among the first people to cast his vote. Congress president Sonia Gandhi, her son and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal and BJP's Harsh Vardhan, who is contesting from Chandni Chowk were also among the early voters.

Maintaining the trend, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi did not talk to the media. However, Priyanka Gandhi, who came to vote with husband Robert Vadra, said there is "no Modi wave in the country".

On his part, Kejriwal after casting his vote in Tilak Marg, said: "We are confident about winning all the seven seats. We are sure that the youth and others will vote for us."

Congress leaders Ajay Maken, who is contesting the New Delhi seat, and Kapil Sibal, candidate for the Chandni Chowk seat, expressed confidence about the party winning all the seats.

"Every election is a challenge, but this time the election is not being fought on issues. It has become an advertisement-driven election. People now know who they want to vote for," said Sibal, who is facing a tough contest as a result of strong anti-wave against him among the minority community voters in Chandini Chowk.

However, there were celebrations of sorts among the BJP workers who felt that the party had an upper hand in all the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi.

"Modi wave is a reality... both the rural and urban voters are with us," said the BJP candidate from New Delhi, Meenakshi Lekhi.

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Not many opt for NOTA
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 10
The 'None of The Above' (NOTA) option did not find many takers during the general elections in the national Capital today.

As Delhi witnessed a tripartite electoral battle between BJP, Congress and Aam Aadmi Party, there were many voters who seemed disenchanted with the candidates but still chose not to tap the newly included NOTA button considering it a 'wastage of vote'.

On being asked about its relevance, a female voter in Laxmi Nagar said, "We could have stayed back at home instead of coming here to vote. I am not standing in this queue to go and press the NOTA button. It is useless."

Rishi, a 24-year-old first-time voter lacked the vigour of a first-timer and said, "I am disappointed with the political system of our country. I am not even excited about casting my first-ever Lok Sabha vote."

"I know I will be wasting my vote, but NOTA is weighing over my mind as I entered the polling station because I don't think NOTA would make a difference," he said before casting his vote at Kutcha Natwa in Chandni Chowk constituency.

The Supreme Court in its direction on September 27 last provided NOTA option on the Electronic Voting Machine and ballot papers so that the electors who do not want to vote for any of the candidates can exercise this option in secrecy.

The apex court's judgement was first implemented after the option was made available in the Assembly polls in five states last year, including Delhi.

While the general trend in Chandni Chowk and East Delhi constituency outrightly dubbed the new option 'wastage of voting power' and termed it 'stupid', NOTA found a handful takers in South Delhi and New Delhi constituencies.

"I don't want NOTA because when I came to the polling station I know which party to vote for. If you have a choice then why waste the vote," said Shiv Sahay Gupta, 59, who voted in South Delhi constituency.

"I got to know about the NOTA option from various campaigns and also through newspapers. But I didn't exercise it because I believe using that option is like boycotting the elections," said Sunanada, a Delhi University student.

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South Delhi voters' mood hints at two-sided contest 
Ananya Panda
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 10
With the mood of the electorate in South Delhi Lok Sabha constituency hinting at a two-corner contest between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Aam Aadmi Party, the Congress appears to be out of the race for the seat owing to strong anti-incumbency both in Delhi and at the Centre.

As people started queuing at various polling stations since early morning, the response gauged here indicates that the "Narendra Modi magic" might steal the show for the BJP candidate Ramesh Bidhuri notwithstanding the criminal cases against him, highlighted by his adversary from the AAP, Col (Retd) Devender Sehrawat.

"The fight is between the BJP and AAP. The poor class is favouring Arvind Kejriwal's party with hope that he will do something while the rich voters may have their own choice for change. The middle class has drifted away from Kejriwal though the fact is that he was not allowed to run the government," stressed 85-year-old Kishan Lal, a resident of Govindpuri who owns a spices shop.

A resident of Shayam Nagar, Pantha Devi (78) who has been exercising her franchise for 50 years was sceptical about any change happening this time around after a new government is voted to power yet she made it sure to come out and vote.

"I have seen in Delhi for several decades. The government is for nobody, but we must use our democratic right," she said after voting at South Delhi Municipal Corporation Primary School-61 where she was accompanied by her grandson.

At the same booth, another couple Asha and Rak Kumar Keshri were of the view that it is Modi this time. "We are not voting for candidate this time but for Modi. We have seen Congress' rule and AAP is inexperienced. Modi has done a lot for Gujarat," they said.

Shail Kumari agreed saying when Congress was on the right path people voted for it, but there are options available now. "This time it is the BJP as people are fed up of Congress. AAP appeared in Delhi for power only," she added.

After casting their vote in Sangam Vihar, Mohd Hafiz and Rampal Singh said, "Congress is gone due to inflation and corruption and the fight is between BJP and AAP. The beginning has already been made in Assembly elections."

There were many places where voters were hassled and returned without voting after being informed by the booth level officers that their names were not on the voters' list.

Besides in many places, lack of coordination between the returning officers and police personnel on duty caused trouble to the media persons as they were not allowed to enter with mobiles and cameras despite passes being issued by the Election Commission. 

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Voters' enthusiasm high in West Delhi
Syed Ali Ahmed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 10
Voters' enthusiasm was witnessed in the West Delhi constituency as a large number of people came out since morning to cast their franchise. They were seen standing in queues waiting for their turn with an idea of a change at the helm of affairs.

Senior citizens, handicapped, a man of paralytic attack and two persons with fractured bones and a large number of youths came to cast their votes in Tilak Nagar, Tilak Vihar, 1984 riot victims' colony, Kirti Nagar, Vishnu Garden, Ramesh Nagar, Moti Nagar, Subhash Nagar, Vishnu Garden, Rajouri Garden, Matiala, Dwaraka, Najafgarh, etc.

In Kirti Nagar polling station, some persons were seen going back in an angry mood as they could not cast their vote due to a technical snag in the electronic voting machine.

Arvinder Singh said that he was standing in queue for the past two hours but the EVM could not be replaced.

When The Tribune's Correspondent asked the sector officer, he admitted that there was a technical snag but the EVM had been replaced with a new one.

A senior citizen made a complaint that there was no arrangements of sitting for the senior citizens.

Harjit Singh and his wife Baljit Kaur, both are disabled, live at Mangal Bazaar. They cast their vote at Vishnu Garden polling station.

They openly said that they had voted for the AAP candidate, saying that both the BJP and the Congress did nothing for them for the past many years.

Vidya (82), who walked with the help of a stick, was brought to Chokhandi polling station by her grandson Naresh. "When I heard about the election, I had decided to vote as I am getting a pension of Rs 1,500 per month. It is my duty to vote in the election."

Vidyawanti (73) who came on a wheel chair, said, "I came here to make a government. She was brought by her son Prem Kumar from Sant Nagar.

Mangat Ram (59), a paralytic, was brought by his two sons, Mohit and Harish. Mohit. He said his father forced him to vote.

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Youths vote for better education, jobs
Shaurya Karanbir Gurung
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 10
After stepping out from the polling station at Gole Market in Central Delhi with the "indelible ink" mark on his left forefinger and a satisfactory smile on his face, he believes that he has voted for a "good leader". According to this 22-year-old man named Bhanu, voting means choosing a leader who will understand the issues of the people and work for the country.

And like other youths, he is also unhappy with the current system of the government. These youth, residents of Delhi, who voted for the Lok Sabha elections today, want changes in the system of education and employment, two fields which they believe are the primary phases of anyone's life. While the young women want safety in Delhi.

Bhanu, who works for the American Express in Gurgaon and lives with his family at Kali Bari Marg in the New Delhi Parliamentary constituency, says that he voted for better employment opportunities.

"There are many people who are unemployed. While others are not given jobs according to their qualifications. These people are graduates and post-graduates, who are underemployed," he says.

Another 22-year-old man, Thakur Prabhat Singh, says that finding employment is a difficult task. He is a final year student of Bachelors of Technology in Computer Science in Delhi Institute of Technology and Management in Haryana. Thakur cast his vote in Delhi today with the lingering hope of being provided job security and the resolving of such issues in a systematic manner.

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Old, disabled voters cherish experience
Himani Chandel
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 10
Voting in the national Capital was a pleasant experience for the elderly and disabled voters who hailed the special initiatives taken by the Delhi Chief Electoral Office.

A significant number of old age voters were seen at the polling stations waiting in the queues. While the elderly appeared enthusiastic the physically challenged appreciated the facilities made available specific to their needs. People started reaching polling stations as early as 8 am.

Dhanwanti Devi, 85, who reached the polling station at 9 am in Pandav Nagar, East Delhi, to cast her vote, said that the experience was quite pleasant. "It was all fine. Even the staff were cooperative," said Devi, who made sure that her family members take her to vote.

"She got ready at 8 am today and went after all of us to take her to the place of voting," said Dhanwanti's daughter-in-law who was accompanying her.

Ensuring a better polling experience for physically challenged voters was Delhi Chief Electoral Office's main concern in these elections.

The family members of Hari Chand Sharma, 92, were relieved to see a wheelchair at the polling booth. "This was our biggest concern. We brought him in the car, but were worried how we would make him walk till the booth. This wheelchair has made it easy for us," said Hari Chand's son Subhash Sharma who had come to vote in Mayur Vihar Phase-II.

However, people were miffed by the police personnel who were not allowing voters to carry mobile phones or electronic items inside the polling booth. "We told them that it is on a silent mode. But they did not listen," said another elderly couple at a polling booth in the New Delhi area.

A total of 1.27 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise, which include over 3.37 lakh first-time voters. As many as 150 candidates are in the fray. The polling began at 7 am and continued till 6 pm.

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Tepid response in walled city
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 10
In polling stations located in the walled city areas polling booths were seen empty in the first half. Officials on duty were seen waiting for the electorate that suggested that there was low enthusiasm in Machhali Walan, Churi Walan, Chandni Mahal, Bazar Sita Ram, Ballimaran and other areas.

A few people standing at the polling stations said that in walled city people get up late on off days. They come in the afternoon.

Anwar Ali, a resident of Matia Mahal, said that earlier election party workers approached the electorate on the day of polling and provided pick and drop facility. But in this election, this facility was not provided. This is another reason for low enthusiasm.

Naimuddin, a voter in Bazaar Sita Ram, said in the walled city, the votes are divided into two parties --the Congress and the AAP. People are coming slowly but they have made up their mind to vote. But they do not disclose.

Mohammad Salim, a resident of Chitla Gate was quite articulate at the polling station. He said he wanted a change in the government. "I wanted a licence for a factory. I have been running from pillar to post for getting the licence. But nobody listened. I contacted Congress leaders as well as councillors in the Municipal Corporation. But nobody cared. Now I want a different government that may work for traders and unemployed people."

Ikram, a resident of Ballimaran, said all the leaders are selfish. They make promises before the election. But once they are voted to power, they forget everything and that is why he did not cast his vote.

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Foreign delegates observe polling
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 10
A 30-member foreign delegation from 19 countries, including many from Africa, visited some polling stations in the national Capital to observe the Indian democracy at work, said poll officials here.

The delegation, which made rounds of polling stations in New Delhi and South Delhi constituencies, included representatives from Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana and Lebanon. The idea behind the visit was to see the comprehensive arrangements made this time by the Election Commission.

This was a part of a memorandum between the Election Commission of India and UNDP towards promoting the exchange of visits and sharing of experiences and skills in the field of electoral management with developing countries.

"The representatives were also briefed about the elaborate arrangements made by the Election Commission to make the elections successful. They saw the voting process and the security arrangements made to ensure fair and safe elections," said an official

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Discounts, freebies to shopper with inked finger!
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 10
On which filling station would you get that 50 paise discount on petrol, asked a voter at the polling station after casting his vote along with his family members in Capital's South Delhi Lok Sabha constituency.

This question was the result of an offer made by the country's largest oil company, Indian Oil, which was giving a discount of 50 paise per litre on petrol at its select outlets across the city to the people who would fill up their vehicles today. But the condition was that they must have cast their votes and would have to show the "indelible ink" mark on their left forefinger.

What's more, there were interesting offers and discounts at various restaurants, salons and gyms for the people who would cast their vote.

Discount coupon site mydala.com asked people to "show their inked finger via a "selfie" to get a deal pack for a month free. 

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