Polling Figures Still Low, Arvind Kejriwal's Message To Voters

Delhi Assembly Election: Polling figures have been slow since morning, with only 27.9 per cent people casting their vote till 1 pm. The corresponding figure in 2015 was 42 per cent.

Arvind Kejriwal asked women to tell men who to vote for.

New Delhi:

Polling figures slowing down to a trickle towards the afternoon, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asked the voters again to come out and vote. With it was a special message to women voters, whose contribution has been crucial for his Aam Aadmi Party's sweeping victory in 2015.

"Your vote gave Delhi 24-hour electricity, schools, hospitals and roads. Please come out and vote," he said in an interview with NDTV this afternoon. Addressing women voters, he added: "You know how difficult it is to run a house. If electricity bills go up, whom will it hurt? Do tell the men of the house whom to vote for".

Polling figures have been slow since morning, with only 27.9 per cent people casting their vote till 1 pm.  The corresponding figure in 2015 was 42 per cent.

In the 2015 polls, AAP won much more decisively in the top 20 constituencies that had the highest turnout of women, compared to constituencies that had a low turnout. In seats with a high turnout of women voters, AAP's margin of victory was 5 per cent higher than in the seats where women's turnout was low.

Mr Kejriwal's Hindi tweet this morning, posted before polling started, set off a war of words with the BJP's union minister Smriti Irani, who accused him of misogyny.

The tweet read: "Definitely go and vote. A special appeal to all women, just as you take up the responsibility of the home, the responsibility of the nation and Delhi is with you. All of you women must go to vote and take the men in your families along with you. Discuss with men who it is right to vote for."

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The "Discuss with men" part did not go down well with Ms Irani, who declared that women are capable of deciding who to vote for without any discussion with the men. ""Do you not consider women capable enough to decide for themselves who to vote for?" read her Hindi tweet, with a hashtag "#AntiWomenKejriwal".

While speaking to NDTV, Mr Kejriwal clarified the point. "I said women should tell men who to vote for," said the Chief Minister, whose party swept to power in 2015, winning 67 of Delhi's 70 seats.

This time, he is facing challenge from the BJP, which amped up its campaign with the anti-citizenship law at Shaheen Bagh. A section of its leaders hit an aggressive note, calling the Chief Minister a "terrorist" who was aiding "anti-national" elements.

The counting of votes will be held on Tuesday.