Voting for all 70 Assembly seats in Delhi will be held on February 8, the Election Commission announced on Monday. The results will be declared on February 11. The term of the Delhi Assembly is set to expire on February 22.
The Model Code of Conduct came into effect after the announcement of the schedule. Candidates will have until January 21 to file nominations. They can withdraw nominations by January 24.
The poll panel had held a series of meetings with several officials on December 26 to decide the dates for the Assembly elections based on preparedness of various departments, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said.
In view of the law and order situation amid citizen protests, Arora said that the poll panel is hopeful that the circumstances in Delhi will be conducive to holding polls, ANI reported. “If there is an extraordinary situation, there is always an option of deferring the polls,” he said.
The chief election commissioner also announced that the poll panel has introduced a new concept of “absentee voters”, for those who are unable to make it to the polling station due to unavoidable reasons. He said physically disabled individuals and people over the age of 80 can avail the option of voting through postal ballot.
Nearly 1.47 crore voters will be eligible to exercise their franchise during the elections. Delhi Chief Electoral Officer Ranbir Singh that of these, around 80.5 lakh are males and 66.3 lakh females and 815 people of the third gender, PTI reported. Singh said all voters will be provided QR code-enabled voters slips, which will speed up voting through easy identification.
Any eligible person can apply for registration as a voter till the last date of nomination of the Assembly polls, Singh said. “The special summary revision of voters list was conducted in September-October months last year,” he said. “The draft of voters list was published on November 15, objections were invited till December 26 and now the final publication of the voters list is being done.”
Singh claimed that there had been no complaints from any political party regarding irregularities in deletion or addition of names in the draft voters list. However, the Aam Aadmi Party had, before the Lok Sabha elections last year, alleged deletion of names of voters belonging to various communities from the list at the behest of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The Delhi chief electoral officer said a meeting of political parties will be held, where they will be provided with copies of the final electoral roll.
The Aam Aadmi Party had won 67 of the 70 seats in the state in the 2015 elections, with only three seats going to the BJP and none to the Congress.
BJP, AAP spar following poll panel’s announcement
Union minister and BJP leader Prakash Javadekar said after the poll panel’s announcement that the elections will be fought on the basis of performance, and not “lies and hollow talks”, PTI reported. At a press conference alongside Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari, Javadekar accused Kejriwal of lying, and said that his lies and his true face has been exposed to the public.
Kejriwal, on the other hand, simply tweeted in Hindi: “This election will be fought on the basis of work [done by his government].”
At a press conference later, Kejriwal said voters will judge whether the BJP has performed well in the areas which were under its power, like the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the police, or whether his party has worked hard in departments like education, healthcare, public works and so on.
“I worked for everyone in the last five years,” Kejriwal asserted. “I did not check whether the beneficiary was an AAP voter, a BJP voter or a Congress voter.” The chief minister said that like the BJP, his party will also begin a door-to-door campaign to highlight its work in the state. Kejriwal claimed that his poll campaign has so far been all positive, and that people will judge only on the basis of the work done over the last five years.