Updated: Sun, 01 Dec 2013 06:45:00 GMT | By PTI

Elections get off to a sluggish start

Intial hours of polling see a low turnout of 8.24 per cent in the desert state; polling so far peaceful, say Election Commission officials

Sluggish start to Rajasthan polls (© PTI)

Jaipur: A low turnout of 8.24 per cent voters was witnessed in the initial hours of polling for the Rajasthan assembly today, the state election commission said. Tonk recorded 12 per cent turn out whereas SriGanganagar, Dausa, Jhalawar and Bikaner registered 11, 10.40, 9.56 and 9. 41 per cent turn out respectively, according to information provided by the state EC office. Besides attempts of booth capturing in Bharatpur district, polling is going on peaceful, an official said.

Polling today began in 199 Assembly seats in Rajasthan to decide the fate of 2,087 candidates including Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and BJP's Chief Ministerial nominee Vasundhara Raje. Over 4.08 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in 47,223 polling booths. Polling will take place between 0800 hours and 1700 hours.

Of the 200 Assembly seats, polling has been adjourned in Churu constituency, where nine people were in the fray, to December 13, following the death of BSP candidate Jagdish Meghwal. There are 166 women and one eunuch candidate contesting the polls. Gehlot, Raje and BJP leader Gulab Chand Kataria cast their votes in their respective constituencies.

At many polling booths in Sanager and Malviya Nagar Assembly seats of Jaipur, voters were seen approaching poll booths while on their morning walk. Congress and BJP have fielded 200 candidates each, BSP 195, CPI(M) 38, CPI 23, NCP 16, other parties 666 and Independents 758 (including Churu constituency).

Police control room said, "Voting began peacefully and there is no report of any untoward incident." Of the 4.08 crore-strong electorate, 1.92 crore are women. The results will be declared on December 8. Gehlot is contesting from his home turf of Sardarpura seat in Jodhpur district against BJP's Rajput candidate Shambhu Singh Khetasar while Congress' woman NSUI leader and former MLA Meenakshi Chandrawat is fighting against Raje from the Jhalarapatan seat in Jhalawar district.

Gehlot along with his wife Sunita, son Vaibhav and daughter-in-law in law Himanshi cast their votes at Vardhman Jain upper primary school in Mahamandir area of Jodhpur. He, while expressing confidence of retaining power for second consecutive term, rejected any impact of BJP Prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on the elections.

"There is a wave in favour of Congress. Ours campaigning was a positive one and we did not touch a low like BJP leaders. We gave positive message to the people and they will vote for development and works done by our government," he told reporters. Asked who will become the next chief minister if the party is voted to power, he said it would be decided by the party high command.

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