Weekday polling limits voter turnout in Bawana to 45 p.c.
NEW DELHI: Polling for the Bawana Assembly by-election on Wednesday was below par, with only 44.84 per cent of an estimated 2.94 lakh voters casting their vote till the end of polling at 6 pm, across 379 polling booths.
The battle is crucial for all the three main political parties. While AAP is hoping to pass the litmus test by reclaiming the Bawana constituency and put a end to its dropping popularity, BJP is trying to continue its winning streak, after victories in the Rajouri Garden Assembly bypoll and municipal elections. The Congress, meanwhile, is looking to open its account in the 70-member Delhi Assembly.
While AAP is banking on its stronghold, i.e. unauthorised colonies and JJ clusters, BJP and Congress expect a good response from the rural pockets.
The bypoll was necessitated after former AAP MLA Ved Prakash quit the party and resigned from the Delhi Assembly membership to join the BJP in March, ahead of the municipal election. Prakash contested the election on a BJP ticket
Meanwhile, AAP showed its faith in Ram Chandra, a popular Poorvanchali face, hoping that he would be able to mobilise migrants from Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh.
Three-time former Bawana MLA from Surender Kumar contested on a Congress ticket.
Polling in one of Delhi's 12 reserved constituencies for scheduled castes started at 8 am, amid complaints from different polling booths that the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were not working properly.
Few voters turned out in rural areas of the constituency till afternoon, as most had gone for work.
An AAP volunteer at the booth in Pooth Khurd village said: "Low voter turnout is worrying. People here are not coming out enthusiastically to exercise their franchise. Arvind Kejriwal took out six rallies in this village to mobilise the voters here, so we are hopeful to reclaim the seat."
In contrast to the rural pockets, people in Bawana's unauthorised colonies and JJ cluster areas in the urban parts came out in numbers to vote.
28-year-old Mohammad Mustafa, a daily wage labourer, pointed to the muddy road near his booth and said: "We have voted for the development and not for any political party. Kejriwal visited our area and promised to solve our problems and bring development to our area."
Delhi minister Imran Hussain booked on complaint of Bawana returning officer
NEW DELHI: Delhi Police on Wednesday said a case has been registered against Delhi Minister Imran Hussain over allegations that he issued pamphlets seeking votes in the name of religion for Aam Aadmi Party in the Bawana Assembly bypoll. AAP alleged that it was a conspiracy by the BJP and ruled out any wrongdoing by Hussain. A complaint was filed by returning officer, after which an FIR was registered in connection with the matter on Tuesday at Bawana police station. A case has been registered under the relevant sections of The Representation of the People Act and the Indian Penal Code, the police said. The complainant alleged that "the pamphlet prima facie makes an appeal to the resident Muslims of Bawana to vote for quom (community). In addition to this other objectionable and communal appeal has been made (sic)". The pamphlets bore the names and photos of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Environment Minister Imran Hussain. "If anyone had to woo the Muslim community, the pamphlets would have been printed in Urdu. This is a conspiracy by the BJP against the AAP just before the polls," said AAP's Delhi unit secretary Saurabh Bharadwaj. A Delhi BJP delegation, led by its president Manoj Tiwari, on Wednesday raised the issue with the Chief Election Commissioner, the party said. "The delegation demanded action against Hussain for seeking votes in the name of religion," said leader of opposition in Delhi Assembly, Vijender Gupta.