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Over 72 per cent cast their vote in Rajasthan

Jaipur, Dec 7: Over 72 per cent of the 4.74 crore registered voters had cast their vote by 5 pm in Rajasthan where elections were held Friday for 199 of the 200 assembly seats.

Polling was set to end at 5 pm but officials said those already in the queue at the booths by then were being allowed to vote.

The voting percentage till this time was 72.37, according to the Election Commission website. The exact percentage was expected later.

Polling began at 51,687 booths across the state at 8 am. The police reported a few clashed among supporters, but said polling was largely peaceful.

Paramilitary jawans opened fire in the air to disperse miscreants trying to force their way into a booth at a village in Alwar’s Shahjahapur.

In Bikaner’s Kolayat, two groups clashed outside a polling booth and a vehicle was torched. In Sikar too there was a clash.

Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sachin Pilot and other leaders were among those who exercised their franchise.

Raje (Jhalrapatan), Pilot (Tonk), former chief minister Ashok Gehlot (Sardarpura) are among the 2,274 candidates in the fray.

The election in Ramgarh constituency of Alwar district was put off following the death of Bahujan Samaj Party candidate Laxman Singh.

The results will be out on December 11, along with those from the other four states which saw Assembly elections in the past few weeks.

Raje, who is the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate, is fighting against veteran BJP leader Jaswant Singh’s son Manvendra Singh in Jhalrapatan, the constituency she has represented since 2003.

Manvendra Singh switched to the Congress just before the election, making the fight tougher for Raje this time. She had won 63 per cent of the votes cast in 2013, winning the seat by a margin of 60,896.

Tonk, with a sizeable Muslim population, is a keenly-watched contest between Sachin Pilot and BJP candidate and Rajasthan Transport Minister Yoonus Khan, who is the saffron party’s only Muslim face in the elections.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had initially fielded sitting MLA Ajit Singh Mehta in Tonk. But in a change of strategy, the party dropped him and sent Khan to take on Pilot.

This is a maiden assembly election for Pilot, a two-time MP who is seen as a chief ministerial possibility if the Congress wins. He has represented Dausa and Ajmer Lok Sabha constituencies in the past.

In about 130 constituencies, the contest appears to be mainly between the BJP and the Congress.

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

PTI

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