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Civic elections: Delhi poll panel hopes for high turnout

Delhi,Politics, Mon, 09 Apr 2012 IANS

New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) Worried about the city's apparent lack of interest in the municipal polls a week away, the Delhi Election Commission Monday intensified its moves to reach out to the electorate to ensure a high voter turnout.

 

Other than media awareness campaigns, the election commission will also be sending letters to voters to urge them to vote, an official said.

 

The commission has rolled out awareness campaigns to attract voters and is aiming for a 15 percent hike in voting percentage this year.

 

"In the last MCD elections, the overall turnout was 42 percent. We have launched awareness campaigns almost three weeks before the elections, so we are hoping for a 15 percent increase in polling percentage," said Rakesh Mehta, chief of the DEC.

 

"We have also sent invite letters to each house for a one-on-one engagement with our voters. The letter convinces the voters to cast their vote ... Hopefully it should help," Mehta told IANS.

 

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) polls, slated for April 15, are being projected as a semi-final for the assembly elections. This will be the first election to the trifurcated MCD - east, north and south Delhi. While the corporations of north and south Delhi will each have 104 wards, there will be 64 wards in east Delhi.

 

"We have tried to make the campaign interesting so that it catches people's attention. But the weather plays a major role on election day, so let's see," Mehta added.

 

There are 272 seats in the MCD, of which 172 are held by the BJP and 67 by the Congress. Close to 10 million voters will be eligible to cast their ballot.

 

The battle ground heated up as the two major parties - BJP and Congress- intensified their campaigning. While the ruling BJP is banking on Bollywood stars, Congress has roped in senior party leaders for campaigning.

 

"Union ministers like Kapil Sibal and Salman Khurshid will take part in electioneering. Congress MPs, including Mahabal Mishra, Sachin Pilot, J.P. Agarwal, Ajay Maken, Ramesh Kumar, Krishna Tirath and Sandeep Dikshit, are also expected to campaign," Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president J.P. Aggarwal said.

 

Yesteryear's actors Hema Malini and Shatrughan Sinha have been campaigning for the BJP.

 

While the Congress has promised better facilities in MCD schools, special scholarships for minorities and Scheduled Castes and new hospitals, the BJP has countered with an assault on Congress' scam-riddled union government and promised to go for all-round development in the capital if re-elected to power in the MCD polls.

 

Campaigning ends April 13.

 


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