New Delhi, April 13: The counting of votes for the Delhi bye-election for the Rajouri Garden Assembly seat is set to begin in an hour. Whether the winner is the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Congress or the Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiromani Akali Dal combine, will be clear in a few hours from now. The Rajouri Garden bypoll that was held on Sunday, April 9, recorded a dismal voter turnout of 47 per cent out of 1.6 lakh registered voters. The Assembly constituency had recorded 68 per cent voter turnout in 2013 and 72 per cent in 2015.
Technical snags in Voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines and Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were reported during the bypoll that was held on Sunday. “The VVPAT machines, which were used across the 166 polling booths, had to be changed at around 38 places while one EVM was also replaced,” said Chief Electoral Officer Chandra Bhushan Kumar as quoted by PTI.
While the Aam Aadmi Party blamed ‘confusion’ over poll date for low voter turnout, the Chief Election Officer refuted the party’s claims. AAP candidate Harjeet Singh Singh claimed that “lack of awareness” led to the confusion among the voters, according to a PTI report. However, he also said that the AAP is confident of winning the bypoll.
Congress leader Ajay Maken was one of the early voters at Rajouri Garden on Sunday. Maken, after casting his vote, said that the Rajouri Garden bypoll was a referendum on Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s two-year rule and claimed his party candidate Meenakshi Chandela will clinch the seat.
The Rajouri Garden bypoll saw a three-way battle with stakes high for all the three contesting parties. While the Aam Aadmi Party fielded Harjeet Singh, the Congress saw Meenakshi Chandela as its candidate. Manjinder Singh Sirsa is the BJP-SAD candidate for the Rajouri Garden seat. (Also Read: All you need to know about Rajouri Garden bypoll)
The Rajouri Garden seat went vacant last year after Aam Aadmi Party leader Jarnail Singh left the seat to fight the Punjab Assembly Elections in February this year. The results of the Rajouri Garden bypolls are also interesting to watch out for as it comes just days ahead of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) Elections, scheduled for April 23, the results for which will be out on April 26.