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Stage set for polling in Delhi

Delhi Elections

New Delhi: The stage is set for a battle royale in Delhi where polling will be held tomorrow for 70 seats in the Assembly elections billed as a referendum on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a view rejected by the BJP leadership.

The battle to win control over the national capital saw a resurgent Aam Aadmi Party giving a tough fight to the BJP which has staked its all on Modi’s image.

Over 1.33 crore electorate will decide the fate of 673 candidates in the fray for the Delhi Assembly elections.

Polling will take place at 12,177 polling stations, of which 714 have been identified as “critical”. Of these, 191 are “highly critical”.

The BJP, which is out of power in Delhi for the last 16 years, made a gamble by bringing in former Team Anna member Kiran Bedi into the party and made her its Chief Ministerial candidate which is said to have triggered discontent among the party leaders and rank and file.

The BJP strategy has been countered by Kejriwal-led AAP which has put up a spirited campaign in a bid to stop the Modi juggernaut that has been on a roll ever since the Lok Sabha election victory in May last year.

BJP leaders Amit Shah and union ministers M Venkaiah Naidu and Arun Jaitley have dismissed projections that the Delhi election is a referendum on the Modi government’s performance, a statement seen by critics as an effort to shield the Prime Minister from any criticism.

The Congress, which had ruled Delhi for 15 years till December, 2013 has been projected way behind AAP and BJP in pre-poll surveys. Some opinion polls have given AAP a clear majority while a few have predicted BJP’s win.

A total of 673 candidates are in the fray for the polls. The Burari constituency in North Delhi has a maximum of 18 candidates while the Ambedkar Nagar seat in South Delhi has the lowest number of contenders at four.

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