It is a virtual fortress outside the NP Girls Middle School in Gole Market. Companies of central reserve police and the Delhi Police guard the school, where electronic voting machines (EVMs) from seven segments of the New Delhi constituency have been kept.
But this time, AAP volunteers are sharing the burden with security personnel by keeping an eye on the EVMs and the surrounding area.
Swaraj Gupta, 54, is among the several AAP volunteers deployed outside the nine counting centres in the capital. “It began with a tweet. BJP leader Sambit Patra said AAP volunteers should not be too excited as the BJP can do anything. We suspected foulplay and decided that an army of volunteers should guard the counting centres,” Gupta, deployed at the New Delhi district counting centre, said.
AAP has picked 10 volunteers from each Assembly segment, who are working in three-four hour shifts and providing round-the-clock vigil outside the centres.
“We are not policing. We have full faith and trust in the Election Commission and the security personnel. We are just taking extra precaution,” Swaraj said.
Even at 4 pm, Swaraj continue to keep vigil, requesting everyone entering the school premises to produce an “authentic identification” card and show it to the security personnel.
“This is our main task. When someone wants to go into the school premises, we ask them to produce an authentic identification card to enter. The security personal do their work. We just ensure that they produce their identification. We are not authenticating anything,” Swaraj said.
However, Swaraj, like the other volunteers, also ensure that “no bags or any suspicious material” is either taken in or out of the counting centres.
The volunteers were picked by local candidates of the Malviya Nagar and the New Delhi seats. “The volunteers gathered at Malviya Nagar at 8 pm. A plan was drawn. Now we are working in shifts,” a volunteer said.
At 5 pm, Swaraj ends her shift and leaves for a long tea break. Replacing him is 29-year-old Gopal.
“This time, we are not taking any chances. The battle for Delhi will be fought till the last EVM is opened and last vote is tallied,” Gopal said.