The desert state came out in numbers larger than ever to vote Sunday,the turnout leaping from 66 per cent in 2008 to a record 72.87,with data from some booths yet to be taken into account. The state has 4.08 crore voters this year. The jump came after a series of elections when fewer and fewer had been voting. The 2008 turnout had been marginally lower than in 2003,and was followed by a low of 48.46 per cent in the parliamentary polls of 2009.
It has been a season of high voting so far,with an all-time high in Chhattisgarh,a likely record in Mizoram where certain sections are yet to be counted,and the highest turnout in 30 years Madhya Pradesh.
Rajasthans chief electoral officer,Ashok Jain,said the turnout is a record high and the estimate is likely to go up by late Sunday night. Jaisalmer,where mobile polling booths have been run to reach voters in otherwise inaccessible villages,maintained the lead from early in the day and closed with a turnout of 85 per cent. Hanumangarh,Ganganagar and Chittorgarh,too,crossed the 80-per-cent mark while even the lowest anywhere was 55,in Bharatpur.
Attempts at booth capturing were foiled at some places,while police personnel had to resort to blank firing outside two polling booths in Dausa and Alwar districts. Several people tried to storm a polling station in Nagar constituency but were pushed outside, Bharatpur district collector Neeraj K Pawan said,according to PTI. The agency quoted the collector as alleging the group was accompanied by Nagar MLA Anita Singh who too threatened polling officers. Anita Singh denied the allegation. No such effort was made by my supporters, PTI quoted her as saying.
Though entry to polling booths was stopped sharp at 5 pm,voters already on the premises continued to cast their ballot till late evening.
Polling was held for 199 constituencies out of 200,including 34 reserved for SC candidates and 25 for ST candidates. The election to the 200th seat,Churu,has been adjourned because of the death of the BSP candidate,Jagdish Meghwal. The constituency,which had nine candidates,is now slated to go to polls on December 13.
BJP chief ministerial candidate Vasundhara Raje as well as Congress Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot turned up at their respective polling booths with their families early Sunday morning and cast their votes. Both looked confident and said they hoped to be voted to power with an absolute majority.
Several voters complained of names missing from the electoral rolls. Polling was held in 47,223 booths,including 18,889 auxilliary booths,for 2,087 candidates including 166 women.
The security arrangements included 3.08 lakh civilian and 1.92 lakh police personnel,56 awareness officers,2,338 digital cameras and 200 check posts.
In 22,013 raids conducted in the poll season,seizures worth Rs 18.57 crore were made,Rs 12.89 crore of it in cash. Liquor worth Rs 29.10 crore (12.22 lakh litres) too was seized. The Election Commission issued 69 notices in cases of paid news. By 6 pm Monday,3,422 cases had been registered of violations across the state and 3,776 arrests made.