Countdown begins for Dec 4 Delhi polls
Assembly elections will be held in the national capital Dec 4 with over 11.5 million voters eligible to cast their ballots in 70 constituencies. The real battle will be between the ruling Congress led by three-time Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and the BJP, which has been out of power for the past 15 years.
The fledgling Aam Adami Party of Arvind Kejriwal is expected to set the poll calculations of the traditional arch rivals awry.
This will be the fifth assembly elections in Delhi. And for the first time, Delhi voters will get to exercise their right to reject all candidates contesting the elections by using the 'None Of The Above' (NOTA) button on the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and ballot papers.
The election dates were announced by Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath Friday at a press conference here. With this, the model code of conduct has kicked in and the gazette notification would be issued Nov 9.
The balloting this time will see over 300,000 first time voters aged between 18 and 19, Delhi's Chief Electoral Officer Vijay Dev said Friday at a press conference.
A total of 543 eunuchs would also be able exercise their franchise, he said.
In a first, the state election commission has enrolled 7,204 homeless in the voters list.
The last date for filing nominations is Nov 16, and a candidate can withdraw his or her nomination by Nov 20, Dev added.
The last date of scrutiny of nomination will be Nov 18. Vote counting will be held Dec 8.
With the countdown having begun for election, campaign by political parties will reach fever pitch in the coming days.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is expected to pull out all stops to wrest power from the Congress, which has ruled Delhi for the past 15 years.
The contest this time would be interesting with the entry of Aam Adami Party which has gained popularity in no time and has been vociferously campaigning against both the BJP and the Congress.
The Delhi chief minister dismissed any anti-incumbency factor impacting her party's prospects.
Dikshit said people would judge the Congress rule in Delhi from the visible development works. "The people of Delhi understand this is not a central government (election). They have to cast votes. This is a local government, they have to elect," she said.
Confident of winning at least 47 seats in Delhi, Kejriwal promised that the results this time would surprise everyone.
"The results will amaze everybody. It will be a government of the people by the people for the people," he said.
In the current assembly, the Congress has 43 seats, the BJP 23, the Bahujan Samaj Party two, the Lok Janshakti Party one and one independent.
The Delhi Election Commission has started an SMS service - 9211728082 - through which voters can check their names in the voter lists.
There will be 11,763 polling booths across the capital, said Dev.
A total of 35,000 Delhi Police personnel and 11,000 Home Guards would be deployed across the polling booths, the official said. Of the 70 seats, 12 are reserved for Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Caste candidates.
The first assembly election was held in Delhi in 1952. From 1956, Delhi lost the status of state and remained a Union Territory till 1993.
(Posted on 05-10-2013)