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Rajasthan records 74 per cent turnout, seals Raje's fate

PTI Jaipur
Updated: 07-12-2018 22:43 IST

Rajasthan recorded a turnout of 74 per cent in polling Friday, sealing the fate of Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje whose BJP is hoping to return to power after a tough challenge from the Congress.

The Election Commission said 74.02 per cent of voters exercised their franchise, a tally just short of the 75.23 per cent registered in the previous assembly election.

The figure is likely to be revised, an EC official said.

The police reported a few clashes among supporters but said polling across the 51,687 booths was largely peaceful.

Special DG (law and order) N R K Reddy said ITBP jawans opened fire in the air to disperse a mob trying to enter a booth at a village in Alwar's Mundawar constituency.

A jeep was torched outside a booth in Bikaner and a motorcycle set on fire near another in Sikar but polling remained unaffected, police said.

At places in the border districts of Barmer and Jaisalmer, people walked miles through the desert to cast their vote.

In Bundi district's Hindoli area, 102-year-old Kisni Bai was among the voters. Also in Bundi, Dhapu Bai, said to be over 100 years old, was brought to the polling station on a cot by her family members.

First-time voters recorded the significant milestone in their lives with selfies, displaying an inked finger, to be posted on social media.

"Have chosen my future, you too show up," one man posted.

There are 2,274 candidates in the fray for 199 assembly constituencies out of the total 200 in Rajasthan.

Polling in Alwar district's Ramgarh constituency will take place later due to the death of Bahujan Samaj Party candidate Laxman Singh.

Results will be declared on December 11, along with those from the four other states that went to the polls during the past weeks.

Jaisalmer’s Pokaran recorded the highest turnout of 87.03 per cent.

The lowest, 59.97 per cent, was in Pali’s Sumerpur, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a public rally on the last day of the no-holds-barred electioneering seen in the state.

Urban areas in Sriganganagar and Hanumangarh regions reported enthusiastic polling.

The BJP is trying to retain power in the state it won in 2013, when it displaced Ashok Gehlot’s Congress government in a state which tends to alternate between the two parties.

If the Congress returns, as exit polls were predicting on Friday evening, Gehlot is tipped for the chief minister’s post. So is state party chief Sachin Pilot.

Before the media on Friday, both sidestepped queries on who among them will end up with the responsibility, but predicted a party victory.

In her interaction with the media after casting her own vote, Vasundhara Raje slammed JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav for body shaming her during an election rally.

She contested from Jhalrapatan constituency as the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate, pitted against veteran BJP leader Jaswant Singh's son Manvendra Singh in a constituency she has represented since 2003.

Singh switched to the Congress just before the election.

In Tonk, Pilot fought against Rajasthan Transport Minister Yoonus Khan, the BJP’s only Muslim face in the elections. Gehlot stuck to Sardarpura min Jodhpur.

In the current House, the BJP has 160 seats and the Congress 25.

Polling began at 8 am, picking pace over the first few hours.

The final turnout figure will be released Saturday morning, Rajasthan's chief electoral officer Anand Kumar said.

The Election Commission set up 259 booths managed by an all-woman staff, a first for the state.

Verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines were also deployed for the first time in Rajasthan.



(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)