Jaipur: Overall 72.65 per cent voting was recorded in Rajasthan when polling in the Assembly elections came to a close on Friday. The elections were largely peaceful barring a few sporadic incidents of violence. The voting to constitute 15th Rajasthan Assembly started at 8 a.m and continued till 5 p.m. However, many polling stations had long queues of voters even after 5 p.m, so voting continued there.
The voting was quite low at the start, but it picked up pace gradually. In all, 41.33 per cent votes were cast till 1 p.m, which touched around 60 per cent by 3 p.m and went up to 72.65 per cent by 5 p.m. A total of 4.74 core voters were registered for the state elections held in 199 out of 200 constituencies across the state and 2,294 candidates were in fray. Election in Ramgarh constituency of Alwar district was put off following the death of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate Laxman Singh.
The Congress, meanwhile, has complained to the Election Commission (EC) about malfunctioning of around 400 VVPAT machines. The party workers also complained of slow voting and requested the Commission to extend the voting time. On the other hand, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has expressed gratitude to the voters for coming out in large numbers to cast their votes. State BJP chief Madanlal Saini claimed that BJP will form the government again in Rajasthan. He also thanked the EC officials, administration and the police department for playing a significant role in the smooth conduct of elections.
A total of 1.44 lakh constables, head constables and 1,500 police officials were deputed for election duties, while a total of 640 companies were monitoring at different polling centres. Strict vigilance was maintained at 11,000 booths with the help of web casting, videography and micro-observers.
Early in the morning, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje voted at a polling booth in her Jhalrapatan constituency in Jhalawar district, while Union Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and Congress leader Sachin Pilot voted at a polling booth in Jaipur. “I think people have seen the kind of work that has taken place in Rajasthan and I think they will go out and vote for development,” Raje said after casting her ballot.
The BJP, which is fighting anti-incumbency, is contesting in all the seats, while the Congress has left six for its allies. The Mayawati-led BSP has fielded 190 candidates, the Communist Party of India-Marxist 28 and the Communist Party of India 16 candidates. There are 830 Independent candidates in the fray. The Congress’ key candidate, Pilot, who is fighting an Assembly election for the first time, said: “There are people who never visited the state and have come only for campaigning. The state has suffered a lot under Raje.”
In wake of technical faults reports in many polling stations, Jalore District Collector B.L. Kothari said: “Around four EVMs had technical glitch in Ahore constituency. However, within a few minutes, these machines were replaced and smooth polling started in there. This was in early morning owing to poor connections but they were rectified immediately as we had extra machines at the centre.” Most of the top leaders including Chief Minister Raje went along with their families to cast their votes. While Raje was seen with her son Dushyant Singh and daughter-in-law Niharika Singh, Union Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore went to cast his vote in Vaishali Nagar constituency in Jaipur, along with his wife Gayatri Rathore.
Similarly, Union Minister of State Gajendra Singh Shekhawat also went cast his vote, along with his wife and daughter.
Counting of votes will take place on December 11, along with four other states — Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Telangana.