Rajasthan: Electioneering ends for bypoll to 4 assembly seats

 Electioneering for the September 13 bypoll to four assembly constituencies - Weir, Kota-South, Nasirabad and Surajgarh - in Rajasthan ended on a peaceful note today.

PTI| Updated: Sep 11, 2014, 19:40 PM IST

Jaipur: Electioneering for the September 13 bypoll to four assembly constituencies - Weir, Kota-South, Nasirabad and Surajgarh - in Rajasthan ended on a peaceful note today.

According to Rekha Gupta, a senior official at the office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), campaigning ended on a peaceful note at 1800 hours. Polling will be held from 7 AM to 6 PM on September 13.

As many as 23 candidates, including four each of ruling BJP and opposition Congress, are in the fray. About 8.95 lakh voters -- 4.70 lakh men and 4.24 lakh women -- are eligible to exercise their franchise in the four assembly seats, she said.

There are about 2.40 lakh voters in Surajgarh seat of Jhunjhunu district, 2.17 lakh in Weir seat of Bharatpur, 1.95 lakh in Nasirabad seat of Ajmer, and 2.41 lakh in Kota-South seat.

Over 950 polling stations will be set up in all the four constituencies, of which 242 have been marked as "critical".

The bypolls were necessitated after the sitting MLAs -- Sanwar Lal Jat (Nasirabad), Om Birla (Kota-South), Santosh Ahlawat (Surajgarh) and Bahadur Singh Koli (Weir) -- resigned from the assembly following their election to Lok Sabha.

The counting of votes will be held on September 16, Gupta said.

To ensure free and fair polling, 16 companies of para-military forces, eight companies of Rajasthan Armed Constabulary, and 6,000 policemen would be deployed in all the four constituencies, Special DGP (Law and Order) Navdeep Singh told PTI.

On an average seven armed policemen would be deployed at a polling booth, which is three times more than the deployment during the last assembly and Lok Sabha polls, the DGP said.

The four assembly constituencies in Rajasthan will see closely-fought poll battles between BJP and Congress. Both the parties are confident of winning the seats.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje?toured these constituencies extensively and held a number of public meetings, along with her cabinet colleagues.

In her rallies, Raje talked about the development her party will do in the next five years and castigated the Congress for not doing anything for the benefit of the state in the past over 50 years.

On the other hand, in his meetings, state Congress chief Sachin Pilot accused BJP of failing to keep its promise of providing employment to 15 lakh people. "In these nine to 10 months, they have done nothing in this reagard," he said.

"They promised to provide 24X7 power supply, but what is the scene... Actually it is very bad," Pilot said.

"The law and order situation has deteriorated... Except for making announcements nothing concrete has been done in the state since BJP came to power," he said.

Former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in his speeches blamed the Raje government for stopping the free medical scheme, pension to old folks, and not giving jobs to thousands of Vidhyarthi Mitra besides delaying Jaipur Metro Rail Project and Oil refinery in Barmer district.

In the Kota-South seat, BJP and Congress have fielded two Brahmin candidates -- Sandeep Sharma and Shiv Kant. Om Birla who had won this seat in last year's assembly polls and later won the Lok Sabha polls from Kota actively campaigned in support of Sandeep.

In Surajgarh seat, Congress's old hand Shravan Kumar (former MLA) is pitted against BJP and Raje's loyal candidate Digamber Singh who has shifted from Bhartpur district to enter Vidhan Sabha.

The Weir (Reserved) seat will see a tough battle between BJP's Gangaram Koli and Congress's Bhajanlal. In Nasirabad seat in Ajmer district, Congress's Ramnarayan is sailing on PCC president Pilot's hopes of victory against BJP's woman candidate Sarita Gena.

Overall BJP will try to maintain its tally of 163 in the house of 200, while this by-election would be a litmus test for Sachin Pilot to prove his leadership in the state.

In the 2013 assembly polls, Congress suffered one of its worst defeats, winning only 21 of 200 seats. BJP had swept the assembly polls winning 163 seats, and later it won all 25 Lok Sabha seats in the state.