Amid calls of boycott and EVM malfunctioning, Rajasthan recorded 29.65 per cent voter turnout on Monday in the first four hours of polling to the state’s 12 constituencies in the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha elections, according to officials.
Highest voting was recorded in Shri Ganganagar with 32.02 per cent polling while the lowest was in Jhunjhunu with 28.51 per cent.
Voting began at 7 a.m. and will end at 6 p.m. for the Shri Ganganagar, Bikaner, Churu, Jhunjhunu, Sikar, Jaipur Rural, Jaipur, Alwar, Bharatpur, Karauli Dholpur, Dausa and Nagaur seats.
In Suratgarh’s Shyonathpura village, not even a single vote was cast in booth number 254. The villagers boycotted voting due to poor quality of roads in the village, poll officer Mohan Meena told IANS.
Villagers in Bhaisana in Dholpur district also boycotted voting due to lack of drinking water in their village, said poll official Dharamprakash.
Only eight votes were cast in the morning, after which villagers unitedly boycotted the voting process. Dharamprakash said authorities are trying to appeal villagers to exercise their democratic right.
Technical glitches in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) delayed voting at several centres.
In Jaipur, voting started half an hour late due to a technical fault in the EVMs at the Bajoriya and the Saraswati Schools.
EVM malfunctioning was also reported at a booth in Jaipur’s Mansarovar area, said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state control room in-charge, Nirmal Nahta.
BJP state president Madanlal Saini cast his vote in Sikar with his wife, while Union Minister Rajyawardhan Singh Rathore, who is the sitting BJP MP from Jaipur Rural, voted in Vaishali Nagar.
Rathore, an Olympian silver medallist and a two-time Commonwealth gold medallist in shooting, is pitted against Congress’ Krishna Poonia, who is herself a 2010 Commonwealth gold medallist discus thrower.
Shortly after voting began, Anand Kumar, the state’s Chief Electoral Officer, cast his ballot with his son and wife. Director General of Police Kapil Garg voted in Jaipur.
While awaiting his turn at a queue outside a polling booth here, Congress state President Sachin Pilot told the media: “Congress is all set to touch ‘Mission 25’ in the state. Voters have seen the BJP and Congress working and they shall definitely vote for Congress to ensure party is voted to power.”
Jaipur princess and BJP candidate from Rajsamand, Diya Kumari, also cast her vote in Jaipur city.
In Alwar, Congress candidate Jitendra Bhanwar Singh cast his vote and urged the votes to come out to exercise their democratic right.
“Everyone should come out of their houses and vote for a new India,” he told the media.
A 102-year-old woman, Gurdayal Kaur, was among those who voted in Suratgarh.
A total of 134 candidates, including 12 women, are in the fray in the 12 constituencies where 2.30 crore people are eligible to vote.
Jaipur has the highest number of candidates, while the lowest was reported in the Dausa parliamentary seat.