New Delhi: 10 pc polling in 69 constituencies

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New Delhi, Nov 29: About ten percent of the 10.05 million electorate have cast their ballot in the first two hours of polling in 69 of the 70 Assembly constituencies of Delhi. At several booths, enthusiastic voters queued up at the polling booths since early morning to exercise their franchise.

While the youngsters, mostly first-time voters, were pretty excited to be part of the election process, several elderly persons were seen waiting patiently for their turns.

An 80-year-old voter in Kalkaji, Shamsher Singh said, ''I have voted in every election and therefore, I am here.'' Manorama, another disabled elderly woman, too was seen being helped by the policemen at her polling booth in Kalyanpuri.

However, there were reports of several voters going back without being able to vote as their names were missing in the electoral rolls.

''I came here to vote for the first time,'' said Roma, who was dejected to find her name missing.

Among the early voters were Vice President Hamid Ansari, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and BJP's Chief Ministerial candidate V K Malhotra.

Congress general Secretary Rahul Gandhi too was among the early voters at the Aurangzeb road polling station.

The fate of 863 candidates in the fray, including 352 independents, will be sealed today in the polling, in which 10.5 million voters, including 4.7 million women, are eligible to participate.

Elaborate security arrangements had been made to ensure peaceful polling. Over 51,000 security personnel had been deployed across the 69 constituencies.

Today's polling will decide if the BJP will be able to end the Congress' ten-year reign in Delhi, or Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit will succeed in steering her party to power for a third consecutive term.

Besides Ms Dikshit and Mr Malhotra, today's election will decide the fate of Ministers A K Walia, Arvinder Singh Lovely, Yoganand Shastri and Raj Kumar Chouhan, Delhi BJP chief Harsh Vardhan and Leader of the Opposition Jagdish Mukhi, among others.

At the last hustings in 2003, the Congress had a tally of 47 and the BJP 20 in the 70-member house.


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