Jaipur, Dec 7 (IANS) Nearly 60 per cent voting was recorded in Rajasthan till 3 p.m on Friday to elect a new Rajasthan Assembly, an election official said.
The polling will continue till 5 p.m and long queues were seen in different polling stations of the state.
The polling was largely peaceful barring a clash between Congress and BJP workers in Subhash school in Fatehpur where the two groups indulged in stone pelting. Two bikes were also torched during the violence. However, timely intervention by the police brought the situation under control.
The polling percentage was reported 6.42 till 9 a.m. and 22.85 till 11 a.m. But it picked up rapidly in the next two hours as long queues were seen outside the polling units, Chief Electoral Officer Anand Kumar said.
About 4.74 crore people will decide the fate of 2,274 candidates in the fray for the 200-member Assembly. Of them, 189 women are contesting in 199 constituencies. There are also 20,20,156 first time voters in the state.
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 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is fighting anti-incumbency is contesting on all seats while the Congress has left six seats 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.
The election in Alwar district’s Ramgarh constituency has been postponed due to the death of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate Laxman Singh.
The Congress’ key candidate, Pilot, who is fighting an assembly poll 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.”
Polling that began at 8 a.m. will continue till 5 p.m. Counting of votes will take place on December 11 along with four other states — Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Telangana.
Also, there were reports of technical hitch being reported in some of the polling stations.
According to BL Kothari, district collector, Jalore, around four EVM machines had technical glitch in Ahore constituency. However, with a few minutes, these machines were replaced and smooth polling started in the region. This was in early morning owing to poor connections but they were rectified immediately as we had extra machines at the centre, he confirmed.
However, in contrast of the facts promised by election commission of various facilities being made available at different poll stations for physically handicapped, there are cases being reported where people have to bring the physically challenged people on their back in the absence of any wheel chair.
One amongst such scene was seen at Kishanpura polling booth in Jaipur where a 105-year-old woman Shajha had come to cast her votes on the back of her family member.
Further, one Gajanand Sharma, who came from Pakistan after 36 years in jail, also cast his vote here in Jaipur
Sharma was found in Pakistan border by the authorities and hence was imprisoned for a lack of papers. However recently he was brought back to India with the timely intervention of external affairs ministry. “Things have changed in all these years. Earlier, the voting process was quite different,” he said.
Meanwhile, most of the leaders including Chief Minister Vasundhara 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, Sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore went to cast his vote in Vaishali Nagar constituency in Jaipur along with his wife Gayatri Rathore.
Speaking on the occasion, he gave a call to all voters to cast their votes. Mentioning PM Narendra Modi’s speech, he said that one vote has enormous power and can change the nation.
Similarly, Union minister of state Gajendra Singh Shekhawat also went to polling booth to cast his vote along with his wife and daughter.
DGP O.P. Galhotra went along with his wife Sunita Galhotra to cast his vote.