On Saturday morning, at the picturesque polling booth inside the President’s Estate, Delhi University student Anjana’s 55-year-old father recalled the time he lost his job last year. “Unlikely help came in the form of free bus rides for women. At a time when I couldn’t afford to pay for my daughter’s bus fare, this scheme by the CM came… Welfare, development are the main muddas,” he said, flaunting his inked finger. President Ram Nath Kovind had voted at his polling booth before 11 am — at a school inside the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
In the New Delhi constituency, which is incumbent Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s home ground, the government’s report card seemed to resonate with the wide array of voters. At Modern School, Barakhamba Road, second-time voter Shrey Gupta (22) said, “I am voting for a party that is working for the city, not for itself. I am helping my father with his business of running private schools in North Delhi. While AAP is after private schools, which is bad for our business, it is doing good work for the city.”
The Ashoka University alumnus, however, lamented that “air pollution was missing from the manifestos of all parties” and “whichever party comes to power must fix it”.
Around 9.30 am, Kejriwal, and his wife and parents, cast their votes at a polling booth in Civil Lines.
The anti-CAA protest at Shaheen Bagh, which was repeatedly mentioned in the bitter election campaign, was also a talking point on voting day. Smriti Bangari (28), who came to a polling booth in Barakhamba Road with her parents, said, “There was too much Hindu-Muslim talk this time. The Shaheen Bagh protest causes traffic jams, but the Muslim community will be impacted by the government’s policies, so it’s understandable.” At the polling booth in Janpath’s Lady Irwin School, voter Hari Maya (45) said: “TV pe Hindu-Muslim sunn ke tang ho gaye… We are voting for development.”
Less than 50 metres from their house in Lodhi Estate, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, her husband Robert Vadra and their son Raihan — a first-time voter — cast their votes at a school.
At the NDMC Convention Centre, located in the middle of the mansions of posh Golf Links, residents were surprised by long queues at noon. A voter at Golf Links said, “The upper-middle class doesn’t care for freebies, but those who work in our homes tell us Kejriwal’s policies have impacted their lives, and that is all I needed to hear to decide my vote.”
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