At 8 am on Wednesday,the city was preparing for what was probably the most enthralling and unpredictable election in the recent past. Among the first to vote were leaders from across the political spectrum,who urged Delhi to do the same.
Sheila Dikshits 15-year rule over Delhi is on the line,with both the BJP and AAP looking to make the most of the vulnerability of the Congress government in Delhi and an overwhelming desire for change among voters.
But when Dikshit,along with Congress president Sonia Gandhi,walked into the polling booth at Nirman Bhavan,Central Delhi,at 10am,she didnt seem worried. After casting their ballot,the two smiled emphatically,conveying their confidence in a successive term for the Congress in Delhi. I am confident that Congress will win in Delhi. We will get votes because of the consistent development we have done, Dikshit said.
Meanwhile Maneka Gandhi,who had queued up to vote at the same booth,exchanged a brief smile with Dikshit and Sonia.
Also in the queue,at booth number 88 at Aurangzeb Lane in Dikshits New Delhi constituency,was Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi. After voting,he said he was confident that Sheila Dikshit would return to power in Delhi.
Among others leaders who turned up early to vote was Vice-President Hamid Ansari who cast his ballot at Nirman Bhavan. Bharti Group chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal was among those who voted at Aurangzeb Lane.
After voting,the incumbent chief minister went back to her residence at 3 Motil Lal Nehru Place,and emerged later in the evening to address the media. She said a high voter turnout was a very good thing,but couldnt predict what would happen since she wasnt an astrologer.
Her challenger,BJPs Harsh Vardhan,made a stop at the Shiv Temple before voting. He was accompanied by his family his mother,wife,two sons and daughter. We will win. Congress will come second and AAP will vanish, he predicted confidently before casting his vote at 8 am.
When he reached the polling station at Krishna Nagar,he was expectantly mobbed by media. But what really grabbed attention was the sheer number of voters at the polling station. It is because the chief ministerial candidate is from here, a voter said.
Harsh Vardhan returned home after a brief interface with the media,wherein he predicted BJPs success and credited it to the Modi wave. Senior BJP leaders such as Ram Lal and Shyam Jaju cast their votes at Nirman Bhavan,whereas Delhis RSS point-man Vijay Sharma went to Hanuman Road.
Meanwhile,a supremely confident Arvind Kejriwal,with Kumar Vishwas and a handful of supporters in tow,cast his vote at the Nagar Palika primary school at 8 am.
After casting his ballot,the Aam Aadmi Partys CM candidate said,We are confident that people believe in us. However,people should vote,regardless of who they want to vote for.
While both state and central offices for BJP and Congress remained deserted throughout the day,AAPs Hanuman Road office was a different sight. As evening approached Kejriwals words seemed to be coming true. A volunteer said,We have news that the voting percentage is very high and this is good news for us.
However,in a press conference at 5 pm,Yogendra Yadav said it was best to leave psephology to the media. This is not your job. For us,the journey is as important as the means. We have done something unprecedented,showing people that politics with transparent funding and clean intentions is possible, Yadav said.