Brisk polling in Delhi, 40 per cent turnout till 1 PM

Brisk polling in Delhi, 40 per cent turnout till 1 PM

About 40 per cent of the 1.27 crore electorate exercised their franchise till 1 PM in the Lok Sabha polls for the seven seats in the national capital where Congress, BJP and AAP are engaged in a tight contest.

"Forty per cent of the electorate have cast their votes till 1 PM. The polling has so far been peaceful and there are no reports of any untoward incident," officials in the Delhi Election Commission said.

Vice President Hamid Ansari, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal were among the early voters.

The Lok Sabha elections here are seen as test of Aam Aadmi Party's perceived erosion of support base, BJP's claim of having a 'Modi wave' besides assertion by Congress that it was regaining lost ground after suffering massive defeat in assembly polls in December.

The prominent contenders in the fray include Union Ministers Kapil Sibal and Krishna Tirath, Delhi BJP chief Harsh Vardhan, Congress' Ajay Maken, Sandeep Dikshit, Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, journalist-turned- politician Ashutosh and BJP's Meenakshi Lekhi.

A total of 1.27 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise, which include over 3.37 lakh first time voters. 150 candidates are in the fray. The polling began at 7 AM and will continue till 6 PM.

Sonia, accompanied by Maken and Delhi Congress Chief Arvinder Singh Lovely, came to the polling station at Nirman Bhavan in Central Delhi at around 9:30 AM to cast her vote.

Talking to reporters Maken, who is contesting from the prestigious New Delhi constituency, exuded confidence of regaining support of Congress supporters who, he said, had favoured AAP in the Assembly polls four months back.

"People who voted for Arvind Kejriwal were traditional Congress voters who will vote for us this time. We will win all seven seats. There is no Modi wave," Maken told reporters.

After casting his vote at a polling booth near his residence in Tilak Lane, Kejriwal said Congress has already accepted defeat while BJP's Narendra Modi was thinking that he had become the Prime Minister.

Kejriwal, accompanied by his mother, father and wife, also appealed to the people to cast their vote. Delhi Lt Governor Jung exercised his franchise at a polling booth in Rajpura road in Chandni Chowk constituency.

"I have voted for democracy. I have voted for India and I have full faith in democracy and I want it to succeed in this country," said Jung.

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