New Delhi leads 4th phase of general elections as key place

May 8, 2009

Moderate polling was recorded Thursday in the fourth stage of India’s marathon five phase general elections, with the national capital New Delhi being one of the key battlegrounds.

Voters wait to cast ballot in the fourth phase of the Indian general elections at a polling station in New Delhi, capital of India, May 7, 2009. (Xinhua/Wang Ye)

Millions of voters in 85 constituencies across seven states and in New Delhi cast their ballots on Thursday though the polling was marred by sporadic violence in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal, where clashes left six people injured, and the western Indian state of Rajasthan where at least two people got killed.

Being the national capital, Delhi has all seven parliamentary seats up for grabs. The ruling Congress party won six of them last time.

Among the early voters in Delhi were Indian President Pratibha Patil and Congress chairperson Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul Gandhi and daughter Priyanka Gandhi.

“I hope the voter is voting for a party and a prime minister who are serious about development and leading the country forwards,” Priyanka Gandhi told the media in Delhi after she voted in her polling booth.

Even as people, mostly youths and aged people, in New Delhi turned out in large numbers to vote as soon as the polling began at 07:00 a.m., the voting is reported to have witnessed a decline as the day progressed with the mercury touching 36 degree Celsius.

However, the Indian Election Commission has arranged cold water and dehydration solutions at all the polling booths across Delhi.

Beside, a large number of paramilitary troopers were deployed in the capital to prevent any untoward incident in the capital.

Moderate polling was also recorded in India-controlled Kashmir where voters braved separatists’ boycott call to vote to exercise their franchise.

“The separatists were playing a politics of fear under pressure from across the border. But this boycott call is no cause of worry for us,” India-controlled Kashmir’s Chief Minister Omar Abdullah told the media in state capital Srinagar.

But, with the voting to end on May 13, experts have predicted that neither the ruling Congress nor main opposition BJP are expected to win outright and other regional parties could play a key role after counting on 16 May. The new Indian Parliament to be constituted by 2 June.

“Either Congress-led United Progressive Alliance or BJP-led National Democratic Alliance is to form a coalition government. In another scenario, a potential Third Front may emerge backed by Left parties,” political analyst S.K. Rajagopal said.



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