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53 per cent voter turnout in Delhi municipal polls

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New Delhi, Apr 23 : The high-stakes Delhi municipal polls today saw a turnout of around 53 per cent, with a sluggish start and a brisk end, even as rancour over “faulty EVMs” coloured the entire exercise with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal railing at the state election body.

As the dust settled, the incumbent BJP, which based its campaign largely on the image and popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, appeared confident of pulling off a victory, two years after the assembly poll debacle.

The figures shared by State Election Commissioner S K Srivastava suggested that the polling percentage could inch past the 2012 mark of 53.23 per cent, which was the highest in 15 years.

The BJP and the Congress had then bagged 138 and 54 seats respectively. This time, the counting will be held on April 26.

Srivastava told a press conference that North Corporation’s Bakhtawarpur ward recorded the highest turnout at over 68 per cent, while south Delhi’s Lado Sarai registered the least turnout at 39 per cent.

Despite a sluggish start, as the day progressed and the heat waned towards the afternoon, people, including the women and the elderly, trooped out in large numbers to exercise their franchise.

The AAP, which the exit polls suggested was headed for a drubbing, led the charge against the Commission over technical glitches in EVMs, which the party has claimed can be “tampered with”.

Kejriwal alleged in a tweet, “Reports from all over Delhi of EVM malfunction, people wid voter slips not allowed to vote. What is SEC doing? (sic).”

Srivastava said 18 electronic voting machines (EVMs) were replaced owing to battery or button-related issues.

“Out of 13,000 polling stations, EVMs were changed in only 18 polling stations. It shows our EVMs are unhackable, robust and no wrong can be done,” he said.

To a question on allegations that voting slips were not properly distributed in some areas, he said people were welcome to approach the commission with genuine grievances.

There were no reports of violence. However, a candidate of Yogendra Yadav-led Swaraj India claimed that he was roughed up by a Congress candidate and his supporters during polling at a booth in Rohini after he tried to stop him from carrying out “bogus voting”.

Congress, desperate to regain some lost ground, said the matter should be probed by the Election Commission and ensure that people do not have any doubt over the country’s democratic process.

“If the chief minister of Delhi has raised some questions on EVMs, and if it has even one bit of truth, then the commission should look into the matter and ensure that the trust of people on the electoral process does not get hit,” Jaiveer Shergill of the Congress said.

Polling was held in 270 of the 272 wards of the three municipal corporations. The election to two wards has been postponed due to the death of candidates.

A total of 1,32,10,206 voters were entitled to exercise their franchise in electing councillors for the 270 wards falling under the three corporations – NDMC (103), SDMC (104) and East Delhi Municipal Corporation (63).

The verdict will determine the standing of the three main players — the AAP, the BJP and the Congress — in Delhi and its ripples will be felt beyond the city’s borders, as it comes within 10 days of the Rajouri Garden bypoll where the Kejriwal-led party had finished third.

Incidentally, in May last year, bypolls to 13 wards were held, in which the AAP had finished on top with five seats, followed by the Congress with 4, the BJP at 3. One seat had gone to an independent candidate.

Election

Gujarat election: EC orders repolling in 6 booths of 2nd phase on December 17

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New Delhi, 16 December: Election Commission on Saturday (16th December) announced repolling in 6 polling stations of Gujarat on Sunday. The polling stations include Vadgam, Viramgam, Daskroi, and Savli.

The Election Commission also informed that the counting of votes of 10 polling stations would be done through counting of slips in VVPAT. As the Presiding officers in 10 polling stations in Visnagar, Becharaji, Modasa, Vejalpur, Vatva, Jamalpur-Khadia, Savli & Sankheda didn’t clear from the Control units the votes cast during mock poll.

In the second phase of Gujarat election two of the booths where repolling will be conducted fall under the Vadgam seat where polling was suspended after ink marks were found on the election symbol of Independent candidate Jignesh Mevani on the EVM and a BJP candidate raised an objection.

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Punjab municipal polls on Sunday, all arrangements made

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Chandigarh, Dec 16: Punjab’s State Election Commission has made all arrangements for the smooth conduct of municipal polls on Sunday.

The ruling Congress, main opposition Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP alliance are contesting the polls December 17.

It would be the first big electoral outing for all three after the assembly elections in March.

“The process of voting to elect representatives to three municipal corporations and 29 municipal councils and Nagar Panchayats would begin on Sunday at 8 a.m. and end at 4 p.m.,” a spokesman of the State Election Commission said on Saturday.

The results will be declared on Sunday evening.

Polling would be held for the municipal corporations of Amritsar, Jalandhar and Patiala.

The election for the municipal corporation of Punjab’s largest city, Ludhiana, was not being held as the electoral rolls were not updated.

Polling would also be held for 327 wards of the 29 Municipal Councils and Nagar Panchayats.

Candidates in 90 wards have won unopposed, the spokesman said.

There would be a total of 873 polling stations in the state, having 1,938 polling booths. A total of 8,000 election staff and 15,500 police personnel would perform duties at these polling stations.

The Akali Dal-BJP and AAP have accused the ruling Congress of misusing its power in the run-up to the municipal polls.

A total of 413 candidates are in the fray in 85 wards of Amritsar where 769,153 voters will exercise their franchise.

In Jalandhar, 305 candidates are in the fray from 80 wards. The number of voters there is 560,261. In Patiala, election will be held in 57 wards in which 260,664 voters can exercise their franchise.

This is the first big election in the state after the Congress government, led by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, came to power after assembly poll results in March.

The Congress won 77 out of 117 seats in the assembly. The AAP finished second with 20 seats.

IANS

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Looking into Congress complaint against PM: EC

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Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha
Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha

New Delhi : The Election Commission on Thursday said it is looking into the Congress’ complaint of violation of the Model Code of Conduct by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Ahmedabad, and also clarified that it has not filed an FIR against Congress President-elect Rahul Gandhi.

The Congress has accused the Prime Minister of breaking the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) by taking out a ‘road show’ after casting his vote on Thursday.

“We have received this complaint in the afternoon, this is being examined and we will let you know,” Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha said in response to a question.

After coming out of the polling booth at Ranip, in Ahmedabad, the Prime Minister stood on the steps of the vehicle in which he was travelling and waved to the crowd on the road and showed his inked finger. He continued to do so for 10 to 15 minutes.

Sinha also clarified that the poll panel did not register any FIR against Rahul Gandhi for his TV interviews, and has only sent him a notice, seeking his response in five days.

“I would like to inform that yesterday morning a complaint had come about the interview being shown repeatedly on some channels. Due diligence was done. First of all no FIR has been filed against Rahul Gandhi,” Sinha said.

He said other complaints made by the Congress are also being examined.

He said the poll panel gave representatives of the Congress party time for a meeting, and heard the allegations that they had to make.

“Till about midnight, the Commission deliberated and even in the thick of elections, we immediately sought a report from the Chief Electoral Officer,” he said.

Sinha said the Chief Electoral Officer of Gujarat sent a report by around mid-day on Thursday on “all points and allegations made by the delegation of Congress”.

“Based on that the matter is under examination. Commission will soon brief on that,” he said.

“Commission has to put in due diligence before taking a decision. The report had been received at mid-day, the entire Election Commission has been busy. The Commission is still doing deliberation on the report received from the Chief Electoral Officer. We will let you know as the Commission takes a decision on it,” he said.

IANS

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