Over 65 pc polling recorded in Rajasthan civic polls

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Jaipur, Nov 22: Over 65 per cent turnout was on Saturday, Nov 22 recorded in Rajasthan civic elections, as voting passed off peacefully barring minor clashes including in Bikaner where a BJP candidate was taken ill after he was allegedly forced to drink thinner by rivals at a polling booth.

Rajasthan State Election Commissioner Ram Lubhaya said that nearly 65 per cent electors of the total 63.09 lakh exercised their right to vote today and this tentative figure is expected to go high.

Civic bodies voting begins in Raj

"Several people are still at polling booths and waiting for their turn, and final figure of the voter turnout will come after polling in all the polling stations gets over," Lubhaya said at a press conference.

Police said polling was peaceful barring few minor incidents in Bikaner, Churu and Jhunjhunu district.

In Bikaner, BJP candidate Girraj Joshi fell sick after drinking thinner with his supporters alleging that the opposition party members had forcibly poured the liquid in his mouth. Police initially claimed that he was mistakenly given thinner to drink in place of water.

However, following protests by supporters, police held around a dozen suspects from the booth. When they were being taken to a local police station, supporters of Joshi's rival candidate pelted stones at the police prompting them to use mild force to disperse the mob.

"The situation was brought under control and the BJP candidate was hospitalised. We have detained six persons who are being interrogated," SP Bikaner Santosh Chalke said.

Total 7,375 candidates contested the elections in 1681 wards of 46 civic bodies.

The Election Commission is expecting that the voter turn out this time will be 4 to 5 per cent more than the previous elections (2009) including in Jaipur and Jodhpur municipal corporations.

Lubhaya said that 98 per cent voting was recorded at a booth in Chittorgarh district which was being verified by officials.

"Whenever voting percentage is high than 85 per cent, our officials go and verify facts at the polling booth," he said.

A total of 7,375 candidates contested the elections in 1681 wards of 46 civic bodies for which tight security arrangements were in place.

Polling has taken place in six municipal corporations– Jaipur, Kota, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Udaipur and Bharatpur, 18 municipal councils and 22 municipalities today and results will be announced on November 25.

Subsequently, the election of municipal chairman and mayors in six corporations will take place on November 26.

Both Congress and BJP fielded their candidates in almost every ward. After withdrawal of nominations on November 15, ten candidates of the ruling BJP and six of opposition Congress were elected unopposed in civic polls.

PTI

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