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Polling peaceful, 30% cast vote till 1300 hrs

Polling Rajasthan, which started at 8 a.m on Monday, picked up slowly as the day progressed with 30 per cent of voters casting their choice for next govt till 1 p.m.

india Updated: Dec 01, 2003 14:29 IST

Polling in the desert state of Rajasthan, which started at 8 a.m Monday, picked up slowly as the day progressed with 30 per cent of the voters casting their choice for the next government till 1 p.m.

In the capital city Jaipur, the figures were marginally better with over 17 percent of the voters having cast their ballot by 11 a.m., said the Rajasthan election department.

Polling so far has been mostly peaceful with no major incident being reported from anywhere in India's largest state. There were reports of technical faults in electronic voting machines (EVMs) in certain constituencies.

Rajasthan's Congress Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Vasundhara Raje Scindia cast their votes in the Saradpura and Jhalrapatan constituencies from where they respectively are contesting.

Political pundits have predicted a close fight between the two aspiring to head the next government in Rajasthan.

Tight security arrangements have been made across the state, with 74,000 police and paramilitary personnel deputed to maintain law and order in the state.

Some 8,900 polling booths out of the 35,705 have been declared "sensitive" and "extremely sensitive" in the state.

Around 33.9 million voters are eligible to cast their votes to decide the fate of 1,541 candidates in the fray for the 200-seat Rajasthan assembly.

The Congress is contesting all 200 seats while the BJP has fielded candidates in 197, leaving three for allies.

The Indian National Lok Dal, Rashtriya Lok Dal, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajik Nayaya Manch are also in the fray.

First Published: Dec 01, 2003 14:29 IST