Rajasthan turnout crosses 74%, edges past 2018 figure

JAIPUR: More than 68% of the electorate in Rajasthan exercised their voting rights across 199 assembly constituencies by 5pm during Saturday’s polling, which was mostly peaceful, with only sporadic incidents of violence resulting in the arrest of 77 people.
The total turnout, including postal ballots, is slightly above 69%, according to the state’s chief electoral officer (CEO) Praveen Gupta.“Polling was on at many polling stations even after 6pm. We hope the voting percentage will cross last election’s figure,” he said. The 2018 turnout was above 74%.
The EC’s endeavour to ensure inclusive elections seemed successful, with a significant turnout from women, senior citizens, persons with disabilities, and among tribal groups like Sahariya. Leveraging the EC’s home-voting facility, nearly 99% of the enrolled senior citizens and persons with a 40% benchmark disability exercised their franchise. Women and young voters actively participated, encouraged by initiatives such as polling stations managed by women, all-youth staff, and those run by persons with disabilities.Polling in the Karanpur seat had to be adjourned due to the death of a candidate. Congress and the opposition BJP are the main contenders in the state, known for a historical trend of voting out the incumbent party every five years. The results will be declared on December 3.
“There were sporadic incidents of violence outside polling booths. The polling process didn’t get stalled anywhere. We will wait for the observers’ final report to make a decision (on repolling anywhere, if at all needed). As of now, repolling is not needed anywhere,” Gupta said.
Addressing BJP’s complaint of slow voting in many polling booths, Gupta said: “We have ensured that those who reach polling stations by 6pm will be allowed to vote. Voters came out in large numbers between 11am and 3pm. This was the reason for long queues at polling booths.”
Voting began at 7am, with a slow start and a little below 10% turnout by 9am, gradually increasing to about 25% by 11am, 40% by 1pm, and 56% at 3pm. Pokaran assembly seat recorded the highest polling at 81.1%, followed by Tijara at 80.9%. The lowest was in Marwar Junction at 57.4%, followed by Sumerpur at 57.8%.
In some polling stations in Adarsh Nagar, Kishanpole and Hawa Mahal, voters faced slow voting, waiting for 2-3 hours to cast their votes. Some voters couldn’t vote as their names were missing from the voters’ list. A voter in Adarsh Nagar alleged that at least 12 members of her family could not vote. “We have our house here, but we don’t stay here anymore. We have shifted to Kunda in Amber. But we haven’t registered our names there (in Amber),” said Razia Banu.
Regarding missing names from the electoral roll, Gupta said: “Even after October 4, the day the final voters’ list was published, 20 lakh new names have been added. On a list of 5.3 crore voters, the names that may have been missing were negligible.”

Villagers at Palawala Jatan in Bassi of Jaipur boycotted the elections to express resentment towards public representatives. Boycotts occurred in several places due to dissatisfaction with the lack of development work in their villages.
Rajasthan Police reported seven cases of election-related clashes so far. In Fatehpur of Sikar district, stones were thrown at a polling booth as a verbal spat between two groups of political supporters escalated.
In Deeg near Bharatpur, police had to fire shots to disperse miscreants attempting to disrupt the polling process at Sanwler village. In Tonk’s Uniara, 40-50 people attempted to enter a booth, but police intervention averted disruption. BJP candidate Jawahar Singh Bedam’s car was vandalised in Sikri town, leading to tension and a significant police presence to control the situation.

BJP leaders cast vote at polling booths, eye ‘absolute majority’: Rajasthan Elections 2023

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