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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Delhi Assembly elections: Turnout dips, strongholds give AAP hope

In Chhattarpur, which gave AAP its biggest win in 2015 with a winning margin of 47% votes, almost 63% people turned up to vote. At Deoli, this figure was 63.43%, and at Seemapuri it was 68%.

Written by Mallica Joshi | New Delhi | Published: February 9, 2020 2:29:01 am
Delhi Assembly elections, Delhi elections, Delhi elections voter turnout, Delhi elections 2020, Delhi Assembly elections 2020, Delhi BJP, AAP, Delhi Congress, Elections news, Indian Express Voters line up to cast their votes for the assembly polls at Khajuri Khas, Saturday. (Express Photo by Praveen Khanna)

In the last two Assembly polls that the Aam Aadmi Party contested in 2013 and 2015, the constituencies in the city — Deoli, Ambedkar Nagar, Seemapuri, Sangam Vihar — have shown the way for the party in terms of numbers and also voter percentages.

Considered the party’s strongholds, these constituencies voted overwhelmingly for the then fledgling party in both elections. And this time, too, most have seen a healthy turnout as compared to other constituencies.

This, senior party members said, works in their advantage. “If we look at the population density, we are more comfortably placed to begin with as the poor have made it clear that they are with AAP. They are the first ones to have rejected BJP’s divisive politics, and the voter turnout makes it clear. In the places where we are strong, people have turned up and voted for us,” said a leader.

In Chhattarpur, which gave AAP its biggest win in 2015 with a winning margin of 47% votes, almost 63% people turned up to vote. At Deoli, this figure was 63.43%, and at Seemapuri it was 68%.

Most of these areas have concentrated pockets of unauthorised colonies, and a big loss from these areas could also be a signal for the BJP that its decision to give ownership rights to those with houses in these areas did not pay off.

The one stronghold where voting percentage dropped considerably is New Delhi, with a turnout of around 52%. Last year, the turnout in the area was 64%. AAP’s candidate from New Delhi is Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, and the seat has become a VIP seat over the years, with Sheila Dikshit having contested from the area earlier. The area is home to government officials and prominent business families, with JJ colonies abutting these areas.

Kejriwal spent a considerable time campaigning in the area, on days addressing up to 35 meetings. His wife and daughter also campaigned for him in the New Delhi constituency.

In the areas where AAP lost in 2015 — Rohini, Vishwas Nagar and Mustafabad — the polling average was higher than the overall city average.

At Rohini, which has been BJP’s Vijender Gupta’s stronghold, over 63% turned out to vote. At Vishwas Nagar, from where BJP’s OP Sharma won in 2015, the turnout was a little over 62%. At Mustafabad, which AAP lost by a thin margin of 6,000 votes in 2015, the turnout was 70.55% and is expected to cross the 2015 turnout of 70.65%.

Across the board, the voting percentage seems to have fallen as compared to the last time, whether in the five Assembly constituencies with the highest votes, or in those with the lowest.

Seelampur, which had the highest estimated voter turnout of 71.4%, more or less maintained its voting percentage of 2015 (71.5%). Matia Mahal saw a drop from 72.89% in 2015 to an estimated 68.36% this year.

Among the lowest polling Assembly constituencies, Delhi Cantt saw an estimated voter turnout of 45.42% — the lowest among all. In 2015, 58.49% had voted from the constituency.

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