Over 63 percent vote in Rajasthan
Over 63 percent of 34 million eligible voters cast their ballot in Rajasthan's 20 Lok Sabha constituencies that went to the polls Thursday.
Voting took place in Jaipur, Jaipur Rural, Sikar, Jhunjhunu, Churu, Bikaner, Nagaur, Jodhpur, Barmer, Jalore, Udaipur, Chittorgarh, Sri Ganganagar, Bhilwara, Ajmer, Rajsamand, Pali, Kota, Jhalawar and Banswara constituencies.
The polling percentage was much higher than the 2009 figure of some 48.46 percent.
However, the figure fell short of the 2013 state assembly polls, when over 75.67 voters had exercised their franchise.
Long queues were seen since morning and in some places, people were seen standing in front of polling booths even before the start of voting.
"Polling was peaceful. As per initial information from across the state, over 63.24 percent of voters cast their votes till 6 p.m.," an election department official told IANS.
He said the final figures were likely to be updated later and were likely to go up by a couple of percentage points.
The maximum polling of 72.74 percent was reported from Sri Ganganagar, while Pali reported the lowest at 57.76 percent. State capital Jaipur reported polling of 65.88 percent.
Reports of problems in electronic voting machines came in from some districts, but the machines were either repaired or changed.
Earlier, polling started in the morning amid tight vigil by security forces.
"Voting began at 7 a.m. at over 38,220 polling stations. We had made elaborate security arrangements for peaceful polls," an election official told IANS.
Over 80,000 security personnel were deployed to conduct free and fair polls, where the political fate of 239 candidates is being decided.
Among these are Sachin Pilot, C.P. Joshi, Girja Vyas, Chandresh Kumari and Jitendra Singh of the Congress, and Sanwar Lal Jat, a minister in the Vasundhara Raje government, and Olympic silver-medalist shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore of the BJP, and Jaswant Singh and Buta Singh who are contesting as independents.
The Congress and the BJP are fighting for all 20 seats, while the Aam Aadmi Party is contesting 17, and the Bahujan Samaj Party 18 seats.
In the last Lok Sabha polls, the Congress had won 20 seats and the Bharatiya Janata Party four, and one seat was won by an independent.
It has normally been a two-party contest in the state, but this time, the AAP and Mayawati's BSP are trying to make a dent in the vote bank.
Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, and BJP state unit president Ashok Parnami were among the first to cast their votes Thursday.
"We are sure of winning all 25 seats," Raje said after casting her vote.
Parnami said people were voting for the BJP as they were fed up with bad governance of the Congress-led union government.
Former chief minister Ashok Gehlot of the Congress also cast his vote along with his family members in Jodhpur.
(Posted on 17-04-2014)