Assembly polls: After waiting for over 6 hours, Kejriwal files nomination from New Delhi seat

PTI New Delhi, Delhi, India Jan 21, 2020, 10.22 PM(IST)

As a result, Arvind Kejriwal announced the formation of a political party on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on October 2, 2012. He formally launched the party on November 26, 2012, the day when the Constitution of India was adopted in 1949. Photograph:( PTI )

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According to information shared by the Delhi CEO Office, till 9 pm, 592 nominations were received on Tuesday for 55 constituencies.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia, BJP's Vijender Gupta and Congress's Arvinder Singh Lovely are among over 600 candidates in fray for next month's Delhi Assembly polls.

On the last day of filing of nomination, nearly 200 candidates, including Kejriwal, filed their papers. With a long queue at the New Delhi returning officer's office at the Jamnagar House in central Delhi, Kejriwal had to wait for over six hours for his turn.

According to information shared by the Delhi CEO Office, till 9 pm, 592 nominations were received on Tuesday for 55 constituencies.

"The total number of nominations at this time stands at 1,353. The number will be updated as and when the documents are processed," a senior official of the Delhi CEO Office said.

The scene at the nomination offices across the national capital was chaotic as candidates, flanked by their supporters, rushed to file their papers on the last day.

Nominations for some seats were announced as late as Tuesday morning, hours before the deadline to file the papers ended.

In the early hours of Tuesday, the BJP announced candidates for 10 seats, while the Congress declared candidature for five seats around 10.40 am.

At the Jamnagar House, where 66 candidates queued up for filing papers, Kejriwal was seen waiting to file his nomination for the New Delhi Assembly seat.

"Waiting to file my nomination. My token no is 45. There are many people here to file nomination papers. Am so glad so many people participating in democracy," Kejriwal said before his turn came.

AAP leaders claimed that 35 candidates with incomplete papers were insisting that they will not allow the chief minister to file unless their nominations are taken care of and alleged a "conspiracy".

A statement issued in the evening by the office of the Delhi CEO said, "Today being the last date for nomination, there was a huge rush of candidates. Since 3 pm was the deadline, a total of 66 candidates presented before the New Delhi constituencies Returning Officer.

"Due to the huge rush, the nomination process has taken time beyond 3 pm," it added.

In the battle for supremacy for the 70 seats, the AAP has been wooing the voters through host of populist schemes.

Kejriwal has guaranteed free bus ride for students, deployment of mohalla marshals for women security, 24-hour supply of power and clean piped water to every household and reducing pollution to one-third.

He said schemes like free 200 units of electricity, 20,000 litres of water and healthcare services will continue for the next five years if his party is voted to power again and also promised basic infrastructure in unauthorised colonies as well as "a pukka house for all slum dwellers".

"On one hand - BJP, JD(U), LJP, JJP, Congress, RJD. On the other - school, hospital, water, electricity, free bus travel for women. My aim - to defeat corruption and take Delhi forward, their aim- to defeat me," he said in a tweet.

The AAP has given tickets to 46 of its sitting MLAs besides 15 new faces. It has also fielded Raghav Chadha (Rajinder Nagar), Dilip Pandey (Timarpur), Atishi (Kalkaji), the trio who had unsuccessfully contested Lok Sabha polls.

The BJP, on the other hand, has been attempting to repeat its 2019 Lok Sabha performance where it won all seven seats with huge margins.

The saffron party has said it will contest the polls under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

It has put its bet on experienced candidates and works of the party-led government at the Centre, including bills like the Citizenship Amendment Act. Among the 67 BJP candidates, over 30 are former legislators or have contested the assembly elections in the past.

In this election, the BJP has accommodated its allies and given tickets to the JD(U) and Ram Vilas Paswan-led Lok Jan Shakti Party. However, its old ally the Shiromani

Akali Dal on Monday had announced that it will not be in the fray owing its differences over the CAA.

"Modi government has done many path-breaking works for the people living in unauthorised colonies and slums, besides coming up with peripheral expressways to reduce pollution in the city. On the other hand, the AAP whose government stalled schemes like Ayushman Bharat and PM Awas Yojna," Delhi BJP President Manoj Tiwari said.

Banking on a mix of young and experienced candidates, the Congress, which drew a blank in the 2015 assembly elections, is looking to revive its fortunes in the polls by projecting the "good works" of the Sheila Dikshit government which led to "prosperous Delhi".

For the first time, the party has firmed up an alliance with Lalu Prasad's RJD which will contest four assembly seats that have have a sizeable Poorvanchali population - Burari, Kirari, Uttam Nagar and Palam.

Delhi Congress chief Subhash Chopra said his party was fully confident of unseating the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party in the February 8 election.

Besides Kejriwal, rebel AAP leader Kapil Mishra, who has been fielded from Model Town seat by the BJP, Shivani Chopra, daughter of Delhi Pradesh Congress Shivani Chopra (Kalkaji seat), Delhi BJP spokesperson Tejinder Singh Pal Bagga (Hari Nagar), Congress' Rocky Tuseed (Rajinder Nagar) filed their candidature on Tuesday.

Before filing his nomination, Mishra also took out a roadshow which saw the participation of Chandni Chowk MP and Union minister Harsh Vardhan.

Candidates can withdraw their nomination until Friday, January 24. The nomination papers will be scrutinised on Wednesday.