Delhi to go to polls on Feb 8

Amidst weeks of unrest on the streets as well as universities across the national capital, Delhi will go to polls on February 8 in a three-way contest between the ruling Aam Aadmi Party, Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress that was voted out in the last Assembly polls following a tenure of 15 years.

Around 1.47 crore voters will decide the outcome, which political parties insist a direct vote on Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s governance. Counting of votes will be held on February 11, about 11 days before the term of the outgoing Assembly expires.

The Election Commission announced the poll schedule on Monday. Every polling station will be equipped with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail machines, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora told reporters. A total of 33,600 ballot units, 18,200 counting units and 20,600 VVPATs will be put to use, for which candidates have to file nominations by January 21. Withdrawals have to be made by January 24 and the EC has set February 13 as the last date to wrap up the entire electoral procedure. Model code of conduct came into effect on Monday with the announcement of polls.

Kejriwal on Monday insisted that the upcoming elections will be a verdict on his governance as compared to the BJP’s. “BJP controls the Delhi Police, municipal corporations and Delhi Development Authority, whereas our party controls education, electricity, roads, water supply, and construction work. People of Delhi will now decide which party has done a better job. If you think we have not done any work, do not vote for us,” he said.

Meanwhile, the BJP that is deemed to be the only strong contender, in the absence of a chief ministerial face has pitched the poll battle between Kejriwal and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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