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Delhi underground

A day after the May 7 polling,BJP Chandni Chowk candidate Vijender Gupta met party workers,who brought ‘glad tidings’.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi |
May 11, 2009 2:39:24 am

‘Victory,I’m sure’
A day after the May 7 polling,BJP Chandni Chowk candidate Vijender Gupta met party workers,who brought ‘glad tidings’. This inspired Gupta to celebrate ‘victory’ over rival Kapil Sibal at his residence on the same day. Later,even as other candidates came with stoic expressions for a party meeting convened by Delhi unit chief O P Kohli,a beaming Gupta reached laden with sweets,and unlike his fellow contestants came an hour late. Counting his chickens before they have hatched?

Boring job
Besides political parties and candidates,the low voter turnout affects policemen also. On May 7,a few policemen deployed at a polling booth in Outer Delhi seemed concerned (and bored). Guarding the deserted polling booth in Narela Mandi since morning,a vexed cop finally sat in a chair,his eyes fixed at the gate. When a couple of voters trickled in after a long wait,he shuffled a bit and rested his head on his hands. The polling booth saw seven voters during the first two and a half hours.

Not so peaceful
Though polling in Delhi was largely peaceful,the office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Satbir Silas Bedi was not. The office was flooded with over 2,000 calls,which ranged from chaos at polling booths to complaints over incomplete voter lists. Amid the cacophony of the buzzing phones,Bedi had to deliberately “lose” her cellphone for a day. But when an old lady kept insisting that she would only speak to the CEO,Bedi took the call,only to nod to the litany of complaints all over again.

Error prone
After polling,the middle class area of Jangpura was among the top in the list of areas with highest voter turnouts. On hearing the figure (75 per cent),local Congress and BJP workers,who thought it was around 55 per cent,went into a tizzy. Meanwhile,the media started praising the “urban middle class coming out in full force…” Later,when the ‘high turnout’ was attributed to a mistake of the State Election Office,Chief Electoral Officer promptly intervened (after 24 hours) to correct the error.

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Coming of age
Despite private players being roped in to ready voter IDs,not everything was right with the rolls. Jagatpuri resident Satish had a tough time convincing a polling officer that he could not be a 27-year-old when his son was 18. The fresh voter IDs issued to Satish and his wife Kamlesh declared them to be 27 years olds. Only when the couple produced their old identity cards and other proofs the polling officer allow them to vote.

Food and duty
At a polling booth in Matia Mahal,the policemen had a tough time refusing refreshments from workers of a certain party. Even as crates of cold drinks lay near them,the cops looked away. “We have made our arrangements,” one meekly said. But the party workers would not give up. They stopped requesting only after the cops promised to have “a little” after 5 pm. One of the cops was heard whispering: “We have to be cautious. If we have it now,other polling agents will accuse us of being soft on them.”

What’s cooking?
On polling day,Lok Janshakti Party MLA from Matia Mahal Shoaib Iqbal walked through the lanes of Chandni Chowk,asking residents if they voted for the Congress. While there was slight confusion over why “Shoaib bhai” would canvass for the Congress,the locals would just not accept that he might have cut a deal. Meanwhile,Iqbal’s brother Ubaid and nephew Khurram (both councillors) have got new chairs in the MCD — that of chairman and deputy chairman of the Walled City zone committee.

Buy and sell
With defections being the flavour of the season,there was some confusion in Chandni Chowk about BSP candidate Haji Mustaqeem. With rumours abound that he too may have cut a deal with the Congress,voters stopped by party tables outside polling booths,asking if he was still contesting. One was upset: “It is now a trend with the BSP. If the candidates have no qualms about buying tickets,why should they mind if they get some profit by selling themselves?”’

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