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While all parties claim victory in Delhi, BJP confident about the Narendra Modi factor

Sunday, 8 December 2013 - 7:27am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA
  • Anantha Subramanyam K DNA

The Congress, the BJP, or the Aam Aadmi Party — who will win the Delhi polls?

While all three parties claim victory, the NOTA (none of the above) option in the electronic voting machines might come out as the game-changer.

And then there is the high voter turnout of 65.86% that shattered all previous polling records of Delhi. Expectedly, political calculations, especially of the two established players, have gone haywire.

Analysts believe voters angry with the political class would have used the NOTA option. NOTA gives voters a choice to use his or her franchise but not cast a vote for any candidate. 

Had NOTA been given more teeth to nullify results in case it got the maximum hits, people
would have got a taste of real power, felt Anjali Pandey of RK Puram. “I am sure the poll percentage in Delhi would have then crossed 80,” she said. 

But former election commissioner of Delhi Rakesh Mehta had a different take. “We will get to know on Sunday whether people used the NOTA option,” he said “I feel it won’t be much because there’s no reason why a person standing in the queue for hours would let her or his vote go to waste when it cannot change anything.”

Former election commissioner SY Quraishi felt the education program of the election commission to sensitise voters led to heavy voter turnout across states. “Mass mobilisation programme of the EC across 21 states has shown results,” he said.

The former EC said that NOTA cannot be the factor that attracted voters. “In Delhi, we can attribute it to the third political alternative,” he said.

And former election commissioner N Gopalswami, however, said it was the mobilisation by political parties that resulted in high voter turnout. “Every political party played on the pro-and-anti factors that prevailed in the states. These parties did the micro job; the EC with its limited fleet con only do macro management,” he said.

Political parties are gung-ho about a positive outcome. The BJP attributed the high voter turnout to the Narendra Modi factor  and anger against the Congress.

The party’s Pandit Pant Marg office in Delhi was buzzing with activity on Saturday afternoon with district presidents from across the city gathering for a meeting to discuss how to go about the counting on Sunday.

Former party chiefs like OP Kohli too was present. Young cadres were excited with exit poll results that have a predicted a BJP victory. Many felt a win in Delhi will be a great boost for the party before the 2014 general elections as the national capital is also called mini India.

The ruling Congress, however, refused to go by exit polls. Leaders attributed the high voter turnout to peoples’ confidence in the party’s performance. They maintained that the Congress would return to power for a record fourth term. Office-bearers of the state unit met on Saturday afternoon to chalk out a strategy for Sunday when counting begins.

The third kid on the block, the AAP, touted by some as the one responsible for the high
turnout, claimed there were more first-time voters and the party had managed to awaken the middle class.

AAP volunteers appeared confident on Saturday with many saying they would form the government in Delhi. Party chief Arvind Kejriwal who went for a Vipasana meditation course on Wednesday returned on Saturday afternoon.

Experts also credited the election commission for running a successful campaign to bring out the citizens of the national capital for voting.

Delhiites are generally indifferent to elections and usually are out vacationing on the voting day.
But election commission’s trick of holding it mid-week and going for multimedia campaigns using big names seems to have worked a little in increasing the number of voters.

In the past, voting in Delhi always happened on a weekend. “Taking election day as a day off, many would go out of the city on a holiday. But this time it was carefully scheduled in the middle of the week,” a senior election commission official said.

The election commission in Delhi resorted to radio jingles, outdoor advertisements and print and television campaigns targetting the youth and middle class to come out and vote. Compared to the 2008 assembly election, Delhi witnessed an increase in vote share by 8.28%.

“This time the increase in urban vote share in Delhi is higher than that of the rural votes,” special chief electoral officer Shurbir Singh said.

The New Delhi assembly seat saw an increase in vote percentage from 56.20 to 65.95.

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