New Delhi: Bettering the 2009 turnout, Delhi today recorded an impressive 64 per cent polling in the battle for seven Lok Sabha seats where BJP appeared to be riding a 'Modi wave' against challenge from fledgling AAP and a struggling Congress.
Delhi Election Commission officials said 64 per cent of 1.27 crore eligible voters exercised their franchise till 6 PM, a 12 per cent increase over the previous elections.
The polling percentage may go up slightly as people were still in queue in various areas even after the deadline for voting ended.
The prominent contenders in the fray include Union Ministers Kapil Sibal, BJP's Harsh Vardhan and AAP's Ashutosh in Chandni Chowk, former Congress minister Ajay Maken and BJP's Meenakshi Lekhi in New Delhi, union minister Krishna Tirath in North West Delhi, Sandeep Dikshit of Congress and AAP's Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, in East Delhi.
While the BJP emerged as the single largest party with 31 seats in the 70-member Delhi assembly in December last year, the AAP put up a sterling show by getting 28 seats, relegating Congress to a poor third with just eight seats.
In 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the overall voting percentage was recorded at 52.3 per cent, which had increased to 66 per cent in the 2013 Delhi assembly election in December last year. The highest voter turnout of 71.3 in Delhi was recorded in the Lok Sabha poll held after the Emergency was lifted in 1977.
The high-octane campaign for the polls saw BJP, AAP and Congress engaging in a close fight to win the seven seats which were swept by Congress in the last elections.
The Lok Sabha poll mandate will also reflect AAP's support base in Delhi amidst perceived disillusionment among middle-class voters who had helped the party to make a spectacular debut in assembly polls just five months ago.
Congress has also tried to regain its support base through a series of initiatives in the last four months following its crushing defeat in the assembly polls.
Vice President Hamid Ansari, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal were among the early voters.
The election results are likely to set the stage for possible assembly polls in the next few months. BJP may prefer going to assembly polls early if it puts up a good show in the Lok Sabha polls.
All the three key players BJP, Congress and AAP claimed they will win all the seven seats. Congress had won all the seven seats in 2009 while BJP had drawn a blank.