Home >Politics >Policy >Delhi Elections: Kiran Bedi, Arvind Kejriwal among early voters

New Delhi: Vice-president Hamid Ansari, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal and BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Kiran Bedi were among the early voters in the Delhi assembly elections where all eyes are on the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The elections are significant as a defeat for the BJP may bolster the opposition while a victory for the party will increase its confidence ahead of assembly elections in Bihar later this year.

The Election Commission of India (EC) said 5.64% of the 1.33 crore eligible voters exercised their franchise till 9am. Kejriwal, whose party has put up a spirited fight in the elections, cast his vote at around 10am at a polling booth in B.K. Dutt colony of prestigious New Delhi constituency.

Earlier, Kejriwal appealed to the voters, in a tweet, to “take a bath and head out to vote with a prayer. You will definitely win." His BJP rival Bedi, after casting her vote at a polling station in Malviya Nagar, appealed to people to come out in large numbers and vote. “Today is a historic day. Delhiites have to decide what kind of Delhi they want—a clean Delhi, a secure Delhi, a capable Delhi, a Delhi that respects women. Respecting women is respecting Delhi. I appeal people to come out and vote," she said.

In the morning, Bedi tweeted a picture taken from her balcony and wrote, “The Sun God from my Window. Magnanimous for all, always. Giving me the Energy to Serve...Thank you." In another tweet, she said, “with parents, family, and people’s blessings I have done my duty...now its your turn to vote for Safe+ Delhi."

Sonia Gandhi cast her vote at a polling booth at 9:35am in Nirman Bhavan in Central Delhi. The Congress is not seen as serious contender for power as the fight is largely seen between the AAP and the BJP. When asked to comment on the polls, Gandhi said, “Whatever the people want will happen." Party vice-president Rahul Gandhi cast his vote at a booth in Aurangzeb lane.

After casting his vote, Congress face for Delhi polls Ajay Maken said the party will never extend or take support from the AAP if such a situation arises. “We will never ever give support to AAP again," he said, adding “I’m very hopeful that Congress is going to do exceedingly well and we are going to form government on our own."

Maken also appealed to the people to come out in large numbers and vote. “I would like to request all Delhiites to come out and vote. I request them to vote judiciously. This is a very important day and each and every vote is very important for all of us," he said.

The Congress had extended outside support to the AAP to form a government after the 2013 elections. The Kejriwal-led government quit after remaining in power for 49 days.

Vice-president Ansari and Delhi’s chief electoral officer Chandra Bhushan Kumar were also among the first few to cast their votes. Union minister Harsh Vardhan said the BJP will come out victorious in the polls. Asked about reports that he was not happy with fielding of Bedi from Krishna Nagar seat which he had represented for five times Vardhan said, “We don’t work for individuals. We work for BJP ideology."

Polling began at 8am at over 12,000 polling stations, of which 714 have been identified as “critical" and 191 “highly critical". A total of 673 candidates are in the fray in the contest. Over 64,000 police personnel have been deployed across the city to ensure free and fair polls.

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