Rajasthan Elections 2023: Voter Turnout Could Beat Previous Records

Rajasthan Elections 2023: Voter Turnout Could Beat Previous Records

The highest voting turnout of 81.12 percent was reported in the Pokhran assembly constituency in Jaisalmer district, while the lowest, 57.36 percent, was recorded in Marwar Junction of Pali district till 5 pm.

Manish GodhaUpdated: Saturday, November 25, 2023, 08:29 PM IST
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Rajasthan Elections 2023: Voter Turnout Could Beat Previous Records | PTI

The voter turnout in Rajasthan this time is likely to exceed the previous voting percentage, with more than 68 percent of the electorate in Rajasthan voting by 5 pm on Saturday to elect a new government. The highest voting turnout of 81.12 percent was reported in the Pokhran assembly constituency in Jaisalmer district, while the lowest, 57.36 percent, was recorded in Marwar Junction of Pali district till 5 pm.

74.06 percent voting turnout in 2018

The desert state recorded a 74.06 percent voting turnout in the assembly election of 2018. Looking at the long queues of voters outside the polling station even after 6 pm, it is expected that the voting turnout may reach up to 75 percent.

Polling began at more than 51,000 polling booths at 7 am, and large queues were seen at most of the polling stations in the state. In the first two hours of voting, nearly 10 percent of voters cast their votes, and the figure went up to nearly 25 percent by 11 am, to more than 40 percent by 1 pm, and more than 55 percent by 3 pm.

BJP has lodged complaint of slow voting

Although a good voting percentage is expected, the opposition BJP has lodged a complaint of slow voting with the election commission and accused CM Ashok Gehlot of pressuring the bureaucracy for slow voting. The chairperson of the BJP election management committee, Narayan Panchariya, said in his complaint that there have been significant issues regarding the slow pace of voting, and many voters have reported long queues and delays in the voting.

The chief election officer of Rajasthan, Praveen Gupta, said that the returning officers have been directed to allow all the voters to cast their votes who have entered the polling station before the closing time of polling.

Officials said voting was, by and large, peaceful across the state. However, two people—a polling agent of a candidate and an elderly voter—died of cardiac arrest at polling booths in Pali and Udaipur districts.

Some incidents of clashes were reported in the Fatehpur assembly constituency of Sikar and Bari in Dhoulpur, where stones were pelted at the polling station and a clash between two parties over fake voting in the Rajai and Abdulpur villages of Bari assembly constituency. Both sides opened fire on each other in Rajai village.

5.25 crore registered voters in 199 seats

There are more than 5.25 crore registered voters in 199 seats, out of a total of 200 in the state. Polling in one constituency has been postponed due to the death of a candidate. The voters have decided the fate of 1,862 candidates.

The election in the desert state is a direct contest between the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP. The Congress is aiming to buck the trend of the ruling party being voted out every five years, while the BJP is eyeing a return in the state ahead of the Lok Sabha polls next year.

People came to vote with enthusiasm

People showed enthusiasm and came out to vote in large numbers. Many voters, youngsters as well as the elderly, queued up at polling centres well before 7 am.

Many first-time voters also turned up in huge numbers and enthusiasm. They were given certificates of voting by the election commission.

"It has been a great experience to vote for the first time and participate in the festival of democracy," said Mansi Jain, a first-time voter after receiving the certificate from the election commission.

The voters had to wait to capture selfies at the selfie points set up by the election commission.

A voter aged above 70 came from the hospital to exercise his franchise at a polling station at Raja Park polling station in Jaipur and said that voting is a national duty, so I came from the hospital to cast my vote.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Union ministers Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Kailash Chaudhary, former chief minister Vasundhara Raje, and former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot were among the first ones to cast their votes. Gehlot and Shekhawat cast their votes in Jodhpur, Chaudhary in Balotra, Raje in Jhalawar, and Pilot in Jaipur.

Rajasthan BJP president C P Joshi exercised his franchise in Chittorgarh, and party MPs Diya Kumari and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore voted in Jaipur. Kumari and Rathore are among the seven BJP parliamentarians who are contesting the assembly elections.

In their interactions with the media, the leaders expressed confidence that their respective parties would get the mandate of the people. There is no anti-incumbency against the Congress, and the party will form the government in the state again, Chief Minister Gehlot said in Jodhpur.

"There seems to be an undercurrent. Looks like the (Congress) government will be repeated," he said. Talking to reporters in Jhalawar, Gehlot's predecessor Raje agreed with him but said it would benefit her BJP. "I agree with him. There is indeed an undercurrent in the favor of the BJP. The Lotus (BJP's poll symbol) will bloom on December 3," she said.

In Jodhpur, Union minister Shekhawat said, "BJP is coming to power with a huge majority. This time people will vote keeping in mind crimes committed against women, paper leak incidents, and corruption during the five-year rule of the Congress."

Two died during polling

In Pali district, a polling agent of a BJP candidate died due to a suspected cardiac arrest.

An official said Shanti Lal, a polling agent of a BJP candidate from the Sumerpur constituency Joraram Kumawat, collapsed at booth number 47. He was rushed to a nearby hospital and then to the district hospital, where doctors declared him dead on arrival.

An elderly voter died due to a cardiac arrest at a polling booth in Udaipur. Satyendra Arora, 62, collapsed at the polling booth. He was taken to a nearby hospital by his family members, where doctors declared him dead.

In the 2018 assembly polls, the Congress wrested power from the BJP and formed the government with Ashok Gehlot as chief minister for a third time. The Congress had won 100 seats and the BJP 73 then.

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