Voting in polls to 129 local bodies in Rajasthan, including 15 municipal councils and 133 municipalities, began on Monday morning.
The polls, conducted in a total of 31 districts, are a litmus test for the ruling Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), especially after chief minister Vasundhara Raje was dragged into a scam involving tainted former Indian Premier League chief Lalit Modi.
The BJP, which is facing anti-incumbency in many regions of the state, asked all its ministers, legislators, MPs, other elected representatives and party workers to pull out all stops to woo voters.
Voting began amid reports of stray incidents of violence and glitches with electronic voting machines (EVM) at some places. Police in Jaipur arrested a person in Chomu area on charges of bogus voting.
An amount of Rs 1.35 lakh was found in his possession which, police suspect, he intended to use to lure voters. At Nawalgarh in Jhunjhunu district, the brother of a candidate was arrested on charges of casting fake votes, police said.
Police said supporters of candidates clashed at Fatehpur in Sikar district and an EVM was damaged in ward number 29. Voting was stopped as the machine had to be replaced, an officer said.
State election commissioner Ram Lubhaya said extra time will be given for voting at places where glitches in EVMs were reported. State BJP president Ashok Parnami said his party was “sure of victory in the maximum number of local bodies”.
Accusing the ruling party of misusing government machinery, Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee president Sachin Pilot said BJP cadres had attacked Congress candidates and even lured away some candidates.
The BJP won more than 30 of the 46 civic bodies, including six municipal corporations, which went to the polls last November. The party had bagged five of six municipal corporations, 11 municipal councils and 15 municipalities.