Rajinder Nagar bypoll: Counting of votes begins

  • | Sunday | 26th June, 2022

New Delhi, Jun 26 (PTI) Counting of votes polled during the Rajinder Nagar assembly bye-election in Delhi began on Sunday amid tight security arrangements. Bypoll to the crucial assembly seat had taken place on June 23 with a low turnout of 43.75 per cent, sealing the electoral fate of 14 candidates in voting machines. Counting of votes began at 8 am, officials said. "We have made all the arrangements for the exercise. The strong room is fully secured with a three-tier security cover. The counting centre has been set up at ITI Pusa. Postal ballots will be counted first, and only those ballots which have been received from service voters till 8 am on June 26 will be considered for counting. After that the EVM votes shall be counted," a senior official had said on Saturday. A separate special box will be there for counting of VVPAT (voter-verified paper audit trail) slips, he said. A total of 43.67 per cent of the male electorate and 43.86 per cent of female voters turned up for the polling in the Rajinder Nagar assembly by-election, which was necessitated in the wake of AAP leader Raghav Chadha leaving the seat after being elected to the Rajya Sabha recently. The percentage of third gender voters stood at 50 per cent. The turnout registered during the bypoll is significantly less than the figures recorded in the 2020 polls, when the voter turnout in Rajinder Nagar was 58.27 per cent -- 58.09 per cent male voters and 58.5 per cent female voters. A total of 1,64,698 voters were eligible to exercise their franchise in the bye-election, in which 14 candidates are trying their luck, although it was largely being seen as a battle between a confident AAP and a spirited BJP for the crucial assembly constituency. AAP"s Durgesh Pathak is likely to have a close contest with BJP"s Rajesh Bhatia, who had also been a councillor from the area. The Congress" nominee is councillor Prem Lata. The two major contenders -- the AAP and the BJP have exuded confidence that their candidates will emerge victorious in the bypoll with a huge margin. This was also the first electoral exercise in Delhi after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. And, 24 Covid-positive voters turned out to exercise their franchise in the bypoll, officials earlier said. Of the total number of eligible voters for the bypoll, 92,221 are male, 72,473 female and four belong to the third gender. Also, 1,899 voters in this assembly seat are in the 18-19 age group, as per data shared by the office of the Delhi CEO earlier. A total of 190 polling stations, including 13 auxiliary ones, were set up at 21 locations, and "very minor snags" in EVMs were reported at few booths, and replacements were made accordingly, a senior official had said on the day of polling. Covid-positive voters were allowed to vote in the last one hour, after the regular voters had exercised their franchise, following all safety protocols, like masks and gloves. The Rajinder Nagar bypoll turnout was even lower than the figures recorded in the Rajouri Garden bypoll (46.5 per cent) and Bawana bypoll 44.8 per cent), both held in 2017. In 2015 polls, the two Delhi assembly seats had registered a turnout of 72 per cent and 61.83 per cent respectively. PTI KND CK


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