Polling booths in the Ballimaran municipal ward saw unprecedented security for the civic bypolls that took place Sunday. The entrance to the schools, that serve as polling booths, were lined with armed police officers. An official from the election commission said police presence was increased in all booths listed under the sensitive category, such as the ones in Ballimaran.
Nearly 200 police personnel walked through the streets of Ballimaran wielding batons and ensuring that people did not gather at any corner. In groups of eight, policemen also patrolled on bikes.
In the narrow bylanes of this locality in old Delhi, polling booths were identifiable by the volume of police personnel standing outside. State Election Commissioner Rakesh Mehta told The Indian Express that police had provided multiple layers of security in the area for crowd control.
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Voting gained momentum post 2 pm. Around this time, Congress and AAP workers raised slogans against each other outside the booths. Police, however, intervened to prevent any violence between supporters of both parties.
During the last hour of voting, supporters from both parties once again gathered outside the booths but were quickly dispersed by police.
The voters understood this as a clash between supporters of former MLA Shoaib Iqbal (JDU) and current AAP MLA Imran Hussain. AAP candidate from the area, Mohammad Sadiq, is related to Hussain — a former councillor from the area. He vacated the seat when he resigned from the MCD.
A senior police officer said this is the first time police did not receive any assistance from paramilitary forces for elections in the state.
Police also claimed to have inputs that the Ballimaran seat was being “keenly contested”. According to the State Election Commission, over 2,500 personnel were deputed to ensure security for the bypolls.