Polling underway in Rae Bareli
Cong chief Sonia Gandhi is seeking re-election from the LS seat following her resignation over office-of-profit issue.india Updated: May 08, 2006 14:08 IST
The voter turnout was relatively low in this prestigious parliamentary constituency from where Congress President Sonia Gandhi is seeking re-election, as Rae Bareli was reeling under scorching heat and hot winds on Monday.
"Only 20 polling has taken place till 11 am," a polling official said in Bachrawan town, about 40 km from Rae Bareli city.
There were no long queues outside voting booths, and some voters also expressed a lack of interest.
"I feel that since there is virtually no contest and it is just a one-sided affair, people are not so enthused about coming out to poll," said SK Tiwari, a medical practitioner here.
Priyanka Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi's daughter and election agent, also agreed.
"When people can see that there are no major opponents in the fray (apart from Sonia Gandhi) and there is hardly any contest, they seem to lose interest and therefore do not make effort to come out and vote," Priyanka Gandhi told reporters outside a polling centre in Bachrawan.
"The low turnout so far is also because of the hot weather. Don't you see how hot it is?" she added.
Priyanka Gandhi said many party workers had also complained of some electronic voting machines developing snags.
Around 1.3 million voters are eligible to cast their ballots in the by-election necessitated by Sonia Gandhi's resignation on March 23 as Lok Sabha member and as chairperson of the National Advisory Council following an office of profit controversy.
Besides the Congress president, others in the fray include Vinay Katiyar of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Raj Kumar Chaudhary of the Samajwadi Party.
A large number of paramilitary personnel have been deployed in the constituency where 300 of the polling booths have been declared as sensitive and 360 as hypersensitive.
The borders of the constituency have also been sealed.