Thursday, Oct 14, 2004
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By Our Special Correspondent
JAIPUR, OCT. 13. About 68 per cent of the electorate in Behror and 60 per cent in Merta exercised their franchise in the by-elections for the two Rajasthan Assembly constituencies today. The polling was peaceful with no untoward incident reported from any place.
A total of 323 polling booths were established in the two constituencies to enable about 3.22-lakh voters to cast their votes through electronic voting machines. As many as 13 candidates are in the fray for the two seats that became vacant when the sitting MLAs resigned after being elected to the Lok Sabha early this year.
While the main contest is between the Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress in Merta, the BJP's rebel in Behror, Jaswant Yadav, has thrown a serious challenge to the party's official candidate, Mahant Chandnath. The Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party have also put up candidates in both the constituencies.
BJP's Ramprasad Bagar is locked in a fierce fight against the Congress nominee, Ramchandra Jaloda, in Merta, even as several independents are slugging it out in both the constituencies. Both BJP and Congress tried hard to woo the dominant castes in the two regions during their election campaign.
The Congress is trying to stage a comeback in State politics after its all-round successive defeats in the Assembly and Lok Sabha polls. The BJP, on the other hand, is making an all-out attempt to win both the seats to prove the popularity of its Government. The electoral verdict would reflect public opinion on the State Government's performance.
The Merta Assembly seat became vacant after the BJP MLA, Bhanwar Singh Dangawas, was elected to the Lok Sabha. Similarly, the vacancy arose in Behror after Karan Singh Yadav of Congress was elected MP.
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