Delhi will go to polls in the Lok Sabha elections on April 10, the Election Commission announced on Wednesday. The election will come three months after the Delhi Assembly elections threw a surprise with the nascent Aam Aadmi Party getting 28 seats, and subsequently forming the government in Delhi with the outside support of a hugely diminished Congress party.
With the government only lasting 49 fractious days, the Lok Sabha polls are set to see a three-way battle between the AAP, the Congress and the BJP, which was in fact the party with the highest number of seats in the Vidhan Sabha polls.
The elections will see 1.2 crore people eligible to vote, with election results to be announced on May 16. Of the seven seats that Delhi contributes to the Lok Sabha, one constituency — Northwest Delhi — has been declared a reserved seat. While Congress and BJP have not announced their candidates for the elections, AAP has so far confirmed candidates in four of the seven seats.
Harsh Vardhan, Delhi BJP president, said, “We welcome the announcement by the Election Commission and hope that adequate measures will be put in place so there are no malpractices. The Lok Sabha is like an examination. You constantly prepare and have to be ready for an exam whenever the dates arrive.”
Spokespersons of the AAP were confident that the performance of their 49-day government would hold them in good stead for the Lok Sabha polls.
“We showed people that clean governance is possible and that we stand by the aam aadmi. There are many who did not vote for us earlier because they didn’t take us seriously, but now they know that we are a serious force,” an AAP spokesperson said.
Congress leaders said the party would bounce back in the Lok Sabha polls. “We have been working hard, and have raised serious issues over the past few months. The AAP has been exposed,” a senior Congress leader said.
According to information released by the EC, nominations will begin on March 15, close by March 22, with withdrawals of nominations only allowed until March 26.
The election will see 2.26 lakh first-time voters, more than 11,000 main polling stations, and 70 model polling stations. For the elections, 53,000 security personnel and 98,000 government employees will be deployed on the ground.