About 19 percent turnout in Rajasthan in first four hours (Second Lead)

May 7th, 2009 - 3:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Jaipur, May 7 (IANS) Polling was mostly peaceful in Rajasthan Thursday with 18.89 percent turnout recorded in the first four hours of polling for the state’s 25 parliamentary constituencies, an official said.
“Polling has so far has been peaceful and around 18.89 percent of over 36 million voters had cast their votes till 11 a.m.,” an Election Commission official told IANS.

The maximum percentage of 26 percent was reported from the Tonk-Sawai Madhopur constituency while in Sikar, only 14 percent of voters had exercised their franchise in the first four hours of polling, the official said.

Stray incidents of stone throwing and capturing of booths were reported in Dausa and Alwar constituencies, with K.L. Meena, a Meena community leader who is contesting from Dausa as an independent, reported to have been injured in a stone throwing incident.

According to the official, complaints of booth capturing had been reported from one of the polling booths in Dausa constituency. “We are looking into it and if need be, we would order repolling,” the official said.

At some places, there were reports of technical snags in the electronic voting machines (EVM), which had to be replaced.

Mahesh Joshi, the Congress candidate from Jaipur, had to wait for some time as the EVM developed a snag.

Polling in all 25 Lok Sabha constituencies of the state began at 7 a.m. at 42,702 polling booths, including six mobile booths in Jaisalmer, amid tight security.

Nine constituencies have been declared sensitive and security measures have been beefed up in these areas, a poll official said. The sensitive constituencies are Dausa, Tonk-Sawaimadhopur, Karauli-Dholpur, Alwar, Bharatpur, Jaipur rural, Bhilwara, Jhalawar-Baran and Chittorgarh. Over 86,000 security personnel have been deployed to ensure fair and peaceful elections.

In all, 36 million people, including 17.2 million women, are eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the fate of 346 candidates.

Prominent contestants include the Congress’ Sachin Pilot in Ajmer, Girja Vyas in Chittorgarh and C.P. Joshi in Bhilwara, and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Manvendra Singh in Barmer, Dushyant Singh in Jhalawar and K.S. Bainsla in Tonk-Sawaimadhopur.

Buta Singh and Meena leader Kirori Lal Meena are fighting from Jalore and Dausa respectively as independents.

The BJP, under the leadership of former chief minister Vasundhara Raje, is trying to hold on to the 21 seats it had won in the 2004 parliamentary elections, while the Congress is trying to increase its tally from the four seats it won then.

It has always been a two party contest in the state. This time, however, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), rebels and independents are trying to make a dent in the vote bank of both the major parties. In eight of the 25 constituencies, the contest is considered three cornered this time.

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