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Saturday, March 28, 2020

Delhi elections: Seats that saw anti-CAA protests record high voter turnout

Okhla, which houses Shaheen Bagh, the epicentre of protests against CAA and made into a poll issue by BJP, saw 50.05 per cent turnout.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Published: February 8, 2020 8:47:11 pm
Delhi elections 2020: Women vote in Shaheen Bagh on Saturday. (Express photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

Even as Delhi saw a voter turnout of over 57 per cent till 6 pm on Saturday, two minority-dominated seats of Seelampur and Matia Mahal, which saw violence due to anti-Citizenship law protests, recorded the highest voter turnout in the Assembly elections along with Mustafabad. Okhla, which houses Shaheen Bagh, the epicentre of protests against CAA and made into a poll issue by BJP, saw 50.05 per cent turnout.

According to the Election Commission data, Mustafabad, situated in northeast Delhi, recorded 66.29 per cent voter turnout till 5 pm. In 2015, the constituency was one of the three seats won by BJP, with Jagdish Pradhan defeating two-time Congress MLA Hasan Ahmed.

Matia Mahal in Old Delhi, which saw violent protests and stone-pelting on December 21 that left 45 persons injured, recorded a voter turnout of 65.62 per cent. On December 21, a constable’s car parked outside Darya Ganj police station was set on fire and police resorted to lathi-charge and used water cannon to disperse the crowd.

Seelampur, another minority seat in northeast Delhi that saw violence and arson on December 17 last year, recorded 64.92 per cent voting. A crowd of 2,000 persons had gathered at the New Seelampur Chowk to protest against the new citizenship law but things took a violent turn when protesters hurled bricks at police personnel before vandalising buses and also torched several motorbikes. At least 22 people, including 12 police personnel, were injured.

On Saturday, at Shaheen Bagh, some voters complained about the deletion of their names from the voters’ list. “A few voters could not cast their votes in Shaheen Bagh under the Okhla constituency as their names were either found deleted or incorrect in the voters’ list,” PTI quoted a poll staffer as saying.

Women protesters at Shaheen Bagh voted in batches so that their agitation remained unaffected. While some of the women voted in the morning, others exercised their franchise in the afternoon and the remaining in the evening.

Exit poll results have predicted a return to power for the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), with most pollsters giving it between 50-61 seats. The BJP, which won only three seats in the 2015 elections, is poised to increase its tally and bag anywhere between 10-26 seats while Congress may secure 0-2 seats.

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