Clashes mar voting in Rajasthan as turnout crosses 47 percent

Jaipur : A clash between villagers and police that also left many media persons injured in Rajasthan’s Dausa marred voting even as over 47 percent of the eight million-plus electors cast their ballots till 3.30 p.m. in five constituencies in the state’s second and final phase of polling.

“Till 3.30 p.m., as per tentative information received, we have recorded 47.20 percent polling in these five constituencies,” an official told IANS.

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Villagers and police clashed in Satha village near Mahua in Dausa constituency. A stone-pelting mob also set fire to a government vehicle, while some media persons were injured and cameras of some of the photo journalists were damaged.

Police resorted to a baton-charge and firing in the air to control the mob.

Voting was disrupted for some time but resumed later.

“The situation is now under control and voting is going on smoothly,” Special Director General of Police (Law and Order) Navdeep Singh told IANS.

Minor scuffles between the supporters of political parties near few polling booths were also reported.

Long queues were seen early in the morning with voters lining up to beat the heat in this desert state.

Rajasthan has 25 parliamentary constituencies, and in the second and final phase voting is being held in five constituencies of Bharatpur, Dausa, Tonk-Sawai Madhopur, Karauli-Dholpur and Alwar. Of these five seats, the Congress holds four while one is with an Independent.

Union minister Jitendra Singh, who is contesting from Alwar constituency, was among the first to cast his vote.

Polling of over 51.43 percent was reported from Alwar constituency while Karauli-Dholpur reported polling of 42.54 percent till 3 p.m.

In the first phase April 17, voter turnout of around 63.75 percent was reported in the 20 Lok Sabha constituencies that went to the polls then.

Reports of problems in EVMs came in from Bharatpur, Karauli and Dausa districts, where the machines were repaired or replaced.

“The voting began at 7 a.m. at over 9,110 polling stations spread in these five constituencies. We have made elaborate security arrangements for peaceful polls,” said an election official here.

Over 2,660 booths had been identified as sensitive and over 45,000 security personnel have been deputed in these five constituencies.

Over eight million voters, including 3.7 million women voters, are expected to decide the fate of 81 candidates who are in the fray in Thursday’s poll.

A maximum of 22 candidates are contesting from Tonk-Sawai Madhopur constituency and the lowest of 12 from Bharatpur.

India’s former cricket captain Mohammad Azharuddin and Jitendra Singh of the Congress and former director general of police Harish Meena and Mahant Chandnath of the BJP, besides Kirodi Lal Meena of the National People’s Party are some of the main contestants.

In the 2009 elections, the Congress had won 20 of the 25 Lok Sabha seats from the state, BJP four and independent one.