New Delhi, April 13: The counting of votes for the Delhi bye-election for the Rajouri Garden Assembly seat is set to begin in a few hours. The Rajouri Garden bypoll that was held on Sunday, April 9 recorded a dismal voter turnout amidst technical snags in Voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines and Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). At the end of voting on April 9, the voter turnout recorded was 47 per cent. 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.
Chief Electoral Officer Chandra Bhushan Kumar refuted the AAP’s claims on lack of awareness and confusion. Commenting on technical snags during the bypoll, he said, “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.”
The Rajouri Garden seat has a total of 1.6 lakh registered voters out of which only 47 per cent voted. 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 this year saw a three-way fight with stakes high for the ruling Aam Aadmi Party, the Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiromani Akali Dal combine as well as the Congress. 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 campaigning for the Sikh-dominated Rajouri Garden seat was high voltage with major leaders from all parties visiting the Assembly constituency. While Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Leader of the Opposition in Punjab Assembly HS Phoolka campaigned for the AAP, the Congress saw campaigners like Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and Ajay Maken.
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.