Delhi to vote on Feb.8, absentee voting allowed - GulfToday

Delhi to vote on February 8, absentee voting allowed


Arvind Kejriwal gestures while addressing a rally. File

Resmi Sivaram

Voters in Delhi will elect a new state assembly in a single-phase polling on February 8. The counting will be held on Feb.11, the Election Commission announced on Monday.

With the election date announcement, the model code of conduct comes into effect immediately. The term of the 70-member House ends on Feb.22, 2020.

The ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) holds 67 seats in the Assembly and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) three.

"Total electors in NCT of Delhi are 1,46,92,136. Polling to be held at 13,750 booths,” Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said.

He said EC has this time introduced a new concept of absentee voters for people who are above 80 years of age.

The new concept helps voting for those who are not able to come to polling stations due to physical circumstances or unavoidable reasons.

"People with physical disabilities and senior citizens above 80 years can either vote in person or vote through postal ballot,” Arora said.

The Union Law Ministry has amended Conduct of Election Rules allowing absentee voters of essential services, senior citizens of more than 80 years of age and people with disabilities.

As per updates, the absentee voter refers to a vote cast by someone who is unable to go to the polling station.

Earlier, the EC had said that the planned guidelines will include the identification of such voters, the manner of outreach, the methods of the collection as well as voting in the specified centres in each constituency.

EC can take a call to defer the polls in case of an extraordinary situation, he said.

Arora said door-to-door verification has been carried out for this election. About 90,000 officials will be deployed to ensure free-and-fair polls.

Facility of rams, wheelchairs have been provided. Pick and drop facility for PWD and senior citizens will be provided.

Notification for Delhi Assembly election will be held on Jan.14.

The Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government is eyeing a consecutive second term based on its populist measures.

"AAP will fight Delhi Assembly elections on basis of its work,” Kejriwal said after the announcement of poll schedule. The AAP has assigned the strategy to election strategist Prashant Kishor.

Kejriwal launched the campaign last month, expressing great confidence of victory based on its five years of governance.

"Past 5 years have been good, keep going Kejriwal, is the slogan the AAP has coined.

Focused on development, Kejriwal launched a number of populist programmes, fulfilling electoral promises. Free-bus ride for women, free electricity for up to 200 units, free WiFi, free pilgrimage for senior citizens and waiver of development charges for new water and sewer connections are among the unique AAP programmes.

The Kejriwal regime also took several steps towards women’s safety, including installation of 300,000 CCTV cameras and 200,000 street lights across the city, and the deployment of 13,000 bus marshals.

The BJP faces quite a lot of negativity. It had a series of poll losses in the past year - Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Jharkhand. Besides, the Citizenship Amendment Act drew widespread protests and violence in the national capital as in many parts of the country and is still a hot subject.

Residents of unauthorised colonies will get ownership rights as per a Central government decision. The BJP keeps it as main poll plank as it involves nearly five million voters.

The Congress has also announced that if it comes to power then it will give relief to people consuming up to 600 units of electricity. It has also played a bet on the controversial Citizenship Act, saying that if voted to power, it will not let the new law, along with the National Register of Citizens (NRC) be implemented in the national capital.


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