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At 8 am on Wednesday, the city was preparing for what was probably the most enthralling and unpredictable election in the recent past. Among the first to vote were leaders from across the political spectrum, who urged Delhi to do the same.
Sheila Dikshit's 15-year rule over Delhi is on the line, with both the BJP and AAP looking to make the most of the vulnerability of the Congress government in Delhi and an overwhelming desire for change among voters.
But when Dikshit, along with Congress president Sonia Gandhi, walked into the polling booth at Nirman Bhavan, Central Delhi, at 10am, she didn't seem worried. After casting their ballot, the two smiled emphatically, conveying their confidence in a successive term for the Congress in Delhi. "I am confident that Congress will win in Delhi. We will get votes because of the consistent development we have done," Dikshit said.
Meanwhile Maneka Gandhi, who had queued up to vote at the same booth, exchanged a brief smile with Dikshit and Sonia.
Also in the queue, at booth number 88 at Aurangzeb Lane in Dikshit's New Delhi constituency, was Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi. After voting, he said he was "confident that Sheila Dikshit would return to power in Delhi".
Among others leaders who turned up early to vote was Vice-President Hamid Ansari who cast his ballot at Nirman Bhavan. Bharti Group chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal was among those who voted at Aurangzeb Lane.
After voting, the incumbent chief minister went back to her residence at 3 Motil Lal Nehru Place, and emerged later in the evening to address the media. She said a high voter turnout was a very good thing, but couldn't "predict what would happen" since she wasn't "an astrologer".
Her challenger, BJP's Harsh Vardhan, made a stop at the Shiv Temple before voting. He was accompanied by his family — his mother, wife, two sons and daughter. "We will win. Congress will come second and AAP will vanish," he predicted confidently before casting his vote at 8 am.
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