In first six hours, 26 percent voter turnout in Rajasthan (Third Lead)

May 7th, 2009 - 4:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Jaipur, May 7 (IANS) One man was killed as police opened fire on a mob trying to capture a booth, while stray incidents of stone throwing and booth capturing were reported in Rajasthan, where polling for the state’s 25 parliamentary seats was underway Thursday, officials said. The turnout in the first six hours was 26 percent.
“Some incidents of stone pelting and booth capturing have been reported. Around 26 percent of over 36 million voters had cast their votes till 1 p.m.,” an Election Commission official told IANS.

Meanwhile one man was killed when police opened fire on a mob trying to capture a booth in Olwara village in Sawai Madhopur district, which is part of the Tonk-Sawaimadhopur constituency where the Gujjar leader K.S. Bainsla is contesting on a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ticket, against central minister Namonarain Meena.

“One person was killed in the firing,” Sawai Madhopur’s Superintendent of Police Vishal Bansal told IANS over phone.

Stray incidents of stone throwing and capturing of booths were also reported from Dausa and Alwar constituencies, with K.L. Meena, a Meena community leader who is contesting from Dausa as an independent, said 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 constituencies began at 7 a.m. at 42,702 polling booths, including six mobile booths in Jaisalmer.

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 are on poll duty.

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 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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