Polling ends in Delhi, overall peaceful

IANS
May 07, 2009 at 09:44pm IST

New Delhi: Delhi voters beat the 'Pappu' factor and came out to vote, recording a decent turnout of 53 per cent on Thursday - higher than in the previous two Parliamentary elections.

The percentage in the 1999 Lok Sabha elections was 43.54, while in 2004 it was 47.09, according to records.

However, the turnout Thursday was lower than the Assembly polls last year of 57.6 per cent.

PEACEFUL VOTING: Overall, the polling in Delhi was peaceful.

"The final voting was 53 percentage," Delhi's Chief Electoral Officer Satbir Silas Bedi told reporters.

"Seeing the national polling trend, I am very satisfied at the way Delhi has voted and the voting percentage is much higher than in the other Indian cities," Bedi said.

Asked what was the factor for higher percentage in Delhi as compared to other metros, Bedi said: "Because of the Pappu factor."

The Delhi CEO said: "All the campaigns which were run to make voters aware, including the Pappu campaign, had a good impact on the people. In urban areas, people came out enthusiastically, which we had not expected."

The radio and television campaigns, taking off on a popular film number, asked people not to be Pappus - lazy - but come out and vote.

"We received over 2,000 calls at our call centre and most were from residents of urban areas, making enquiries about the polling process. There has been a slight increase in voting by people from the middle and upper middle class," she said.

Polling in the seven Lok Sabha constituencies in the capital - in the fourth and penultimate phase of the general elections - ended at 17:00 hrs IST after 10 hours of balloting. About 11.09 million people - nearly four million between the age group of 18-29 - were eligible to vote at 11,348 polling booths in the capital.

The highest turnout was recorded in West Delhi constituency at 53 per cent, followed by East Delhi at 52.5 per cent. The lowest was Northwest Delhi at 45 per cent. Chandni Chowk recorded 50 per cent, Northeast 52 per cent, New Delhi 50 per cent and South Delhi witnessed 48 per cent polling.

"I am extremely satisfied by the way elections were conducted in the national capital. There was no incidence of violence and no case of faulty Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs)," Bedi said.

She added that they have not received orders of repolling in any booth as yet.

She said the lowest voting percentage was noticed in the rural belts of the Northwest constituency.

A total of 160 candidates were in the fray this time, compared to 129 in 2004. The contest is mainly between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

More than 73,000 officials conducted the voting. Nearly 56,000 police personnel were deployed across the capital. A total of 193 polling booths were identified as sensitive and 32 as hyper-sensitive. The counting of votes would take place May 16.

The polling for the Rohtas Nagar Assembly constituency was recorded at 59.8 per cent.

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