By: Radhakrishna NS
NEARLY 30 per cent turnout was recorded in the first four hours of polling on Monday (6) in 12 Lok Sabha seats of Rajasthan where two former Olympians are among the 124 candidates in the fray.
The maximum voter turnout of 31.93 per cent was in Ganganagar (SC) seat while Nagaur, Dausa, Churu and Alwar registered 30.34, 30.04, 30.02 and 30.01 per cent voting.
Polling began at 07 am IST in Ganganagar, Bikaner, Churu, Jhunjhunu, Sikar, Jaipur rural, Jaipur, Alwar, Bharatpur, Karauli-Dholpur, Dausa and Nagaur.
Sixteen of the total 134 candidates are women. 23,783 polling stations have been set up in 12 constituencies where 23 million voters are registered.
Two former Olympians, a former IAS officer and a former IPS officer are among the candidates whose fate will be decided by voters.
Jaipur rural, Bikaner, Dausa, Alwar are some of the keenly watched constituencies among the 12 seats.
Former Olympians Rajyavardhan Rathore, union minister of state, and Krishna Poonia are in a contest in Jaipur rural constituency.
While the sitting MP Rathore is banking on the Modi factor and highlighted national security as the key issue, Congress MLA Poonia questioned works done by Rathore.
The seat, which Rathore won with a margin of 3.32 lakh votes in 2014, is dominated by Jat community, a caste to which Poonia belongs.
Union minister Arjun Ram Meghwal is facing a tough fight from his cousin brother and Congress candidate Madangopal Meghwal in Bikaner.
Arjun Ram is a former IAS officer while Madangopal Meghwal is a former IPS officer.
Nagaur is the seat where BJP’s alliance partner and former BJP leader Hanuman Beniwal, the founder of Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP), is contesting election against Congress candidate and former MP Jyoti Mirdha.
Two ‘sants’, Sumedhanand Saraswati and Baba Balaknath, are trying their luck from Sikar and Alwar constituencies respectively. In Alwar, Congress candidate and former union minister and ex-royal Bhanwar Jitendra Singh are in the poll fight.
In Dausa, both the BJP and Congress candidates are women. BJP has fielded former MP Jaskaru Meena against Congress candidate Savita Meena, the wife of sitting Congress MLA Murari Meena.
Rajasthan has a total of 25 Lok Sabha seats and 13 of them went to poll on April 29.