Battle for Delhi: Voting begins amid tight security, to end at 6 pm

The polling for the 70-member Delhi Assembly got underway on Saturday morning, an election that saw the ruling AAP, opposition BJP and the Congress engaged in a bitterly fought high-octane campaign.

Over 14.7 million people are eligible to exercise their franchise in the polls that will decide the fate of 672 candidates.

The polling began at 8 am and will end at 6 pm, an official said.

Security forces kept a tight watch across the 70 constituencies, with police and paramilitary personnel keeping an "extra vigil" in sensitive areas like Shaheen Bagh, Jamia Nagar and Seelampuri.

There are over 81 lakh male voters, 6.680 million female voters, and 869 third-gender voters, Delhi Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ranbir Singh has said.

Around 233,000 voters are in the age group of 18-19, 2.04 lakh voters are senior citizens aged 80, while there are 11,608 service voters, according to officials.

Prominent candidates in the fray include Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia, Atishi and Raghav Chadha of the AAP; four former mayors -- Azad Singh, Yogender Chandolia, Ravinder Gupta and Khushi Ram -- of the BJP; and Shivani Chopra, daughter of Delhi Congress president Subhash Chopra.

There are 13,750 polling booths, besides one auxiliary booth, located at 2,689 locations across Delhi.

"As far as critical polling stations are concerned, there are 516 locations and 3,704 booths in that category," Singh said.

Besides police security, polling stations falling in the "critical category" have got paramilitary cover. Activities at such stations are being monitored through webcasting, officials said.

All five polling stations in Shaheen Bagh, the epicentre of massive protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, are under critical category.

The Aam Aadmi Party is hoping to repeat its stellar performance of the last assembly polls when it won 67 of the 70 seats. The Bharatiya Janata Party, which bagged all the seven seats in Delhi in the 2019 Lok Sabha poll, is aiming to dislodge the AAP, while the Congress is seeking to better its performance than last time when it drew a blank in the assembly polls.

The AAP had got 54.3 per cent votes in the 2015 polls, while the BJP secured 32 per cent and the Congress bagged just 9.6 per cent.

Counting of votes will take place on Tuesday.



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