Over 36 percent turnout in Rajasthan in eight hours (Fourth Lead)

May 7th, 2009 - 6:43 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 Thursday during the ongoing Lok Sabha elections in the state, officials said. The turnout in the first eight hours was 36.11 percent.
“Some incidents of stone pelting and booth capturing have been reported. Around 36.11 percent of over 36 million voters had cast their votes till 3 p.m.,” an Election Commission official told IANS. Rajasthan has 25 Lok Sabha constituencies, and all went to the polls Thursday.

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 in the Tonk-Sawai Madhopur constituency. Gujjar leader K.S. Bainsla is contesting on a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ticket, against central minister Namonarain Meena of the Congress.

“One person, Netram Meena, was killed and one injured when CISF (Central Industrial Security Force) personnel opened fire on a stone pelting mob,” Sawai Madhopur’s Superintendent of Police Vishal Bansal told IANS by phone.

Stray incidents of stone throwing and booth capturing were also reported from Dausa and Alwar constituencies. Kishori Lal Meena, contesting from Dausa as an Independent, is said to have been injured in a stone throwing incident.

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

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 began at 7 a.m. in all 25 constituencies’ 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. These are Dausa, Tonk-Sawai Madhopur, 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-Sawai Madhopur.

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

The BJP 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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