15.69% voter turnout till noon

New Delhi: Amid bright sunshine and early morning chill, an estimated 15.69 percent of 1.47 crore eligible voters cast their votes till noon on Saturday in the election for the 70-member Delhi Assembly seats.

The polling began at 8 a.m. amid tight security with long queues of people reported at several polling stations. There are 672 candidates in the fray to elect a new government.

The estimated turnout for North East Delhi till noon was 19.85 percent, according to the Election Commission’s Voter Turnout App. Area-wise, East Delhi reported 17.28 percent polling, North West Delhi 15.75 percent, West 14.20 percent, South 14.10 percent, South West 17.56 percent and Central 12.52 percent turnout, the app said.

President Ram Nath Kovind, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Union ministers Harsh Vardhan and S. Jaishankar were among various MPs, including controversial BJP leader Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma, who cast their votes early morning along with their families.

Kejriwal, who is seeking another term from the New Delhi constituency, cast his vote along with his father, mother and wife at a polling booth in Rajpura Transport Authority in Civil Lines area amid tight security.

Congress interim Chief Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former party President Rahul Gandhi turned up at the polling stations early in the day.

Sonia Gandhi, who was discharged from the hospital after four days following stomach infection, arrived at a polling booth in central Delhi’s Nirman Bhawan.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also exercised his franchise at the Nirman Bhawan polling station.

Rahul Gandhi, Congress MP from Kerala’s Wayand, also cast his vote at the NP Senior Secondary School in Aurangzeb Lane here.

A polling officer, Udham Singh, posted at Babarpur Assembly constituency in east Delhi died after cardiac arrest.

There was enthusisam among voters of Neb Sarai, one of Asia’s largest unauthorised colony as young voters came out in large numbers to exersice their right to choose their representative.

The polling will end at 6 p.m. and the results will be announced on February 11. In the election, the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is making yet anothet attempt to return to power, while the Bharatiya Janata Party is determined to stage a comeback after 20 years. The Congress, which ruled Delhi for 15 years, is expecting a resurgence in its vote share.

The Election Commission has identified 516 locations and 3,704 polling booths as critical voting stations where paramilitary forces have been deployed. Activities at each polling station are being monitored through webcasting.

The police have deployed around 40,000 security personnel, 19,000 home guards and 190 companies of Central Armed Police Forces to ensure smooth conduct of the polls.

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