New Delhi, Feb 7: Moderate to brisk voting was witnessed in Delhi as 35.82 per cent of the nearly 1.33 crore voters exercised their franchise in the first five hours of polling in one of the most fiercely fought polls that saw BJP and AAP making an aggressive bid to capture power while Congress focused on regaining lost ground.
"35.82 per cent polling was recorded till 1 PM. Polling has been peaceful so far," a senior Election Commission official said.
Vice President Hamid Ansari, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, party Vice President Rahul Gandhi, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal, BJP's chief ministerial candidate Kiran Bedi, Union Ministers Harsh Vardhan and Maneka Gandhi, Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, Congress' Ajay Maken and BJP's Varun Gandhi were among the early voters.
The Delhi polls are seen as a direct contest between AAP and BJP and being billed as a referendum on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a description rejected by his party leaders.
This is the second assembly polls in Delhi within little over one year. The assembly polls in December 2013 had thrown a hung verdict with BJP winning 31 seats and AAP making a stunning debut by wresting 28 seats while Congress got only 8 in the 70-member assembly.
The elections are significant as a defeat for BJP may bolster the opposition while a victory for the party will increase its confidence ahead of assembly polls in Bihar later this year.
Kejriwal, who led AAP's spirited campaign, today exuded confidence of getting a clear mandate for his party as he said truth will triumph in the polls.
"I am confident that AAP will win the elections and form government in Delhi," he told PTI after casting his vote at B K Dutt colony in his New Delhi constituency.
His BJP rival Kiran Bedi, after casting her vote at a polling station in Malviya Nagar, appealed to people to come out in large numbers and vote. "Today is a historic day.
Delhiites have to decide what kind of Delhi they want - a clean Delhi, a secure Delhi, a capable Delhi, a Delhi that respects women.
Respecting women is respecting Delhi. I appeal people to come out and vote," she said.