Rajasthan's five 'sensitive' seats go to polls today

Over 80 lakh voters will exercise their francise in five Lok Sabha seats in the second phase of Parliament elections in Rajasthan on Thursday.

The second phase will decide the fate of several high profile leaders, including former cricketer Mohd Azharuddin and two Union Ministers Bhanwar Jitendra Singh and Namo Narayan Meena.

The five constituencies of eastern Rajasthan going for polls are Bharatpur, Dausa, Tonk-Sawai Madhopur, Karauli-Dholpur and Alwar, and are considered to be the most sensitive parliamentary constituencies in the state.

Of the 9,110 polling stations, 2,674 booths have been declared as sensitive by the Election Commission (EC).

“Around 30 per cent of polling booths in the second phase elections have been declared as sensitive. Of the 9,110 polling booths, 2,674 are sensitive,” said an EC official.

As per the 2009 election data, maximum cases of intimidating voters, proxy voting and booth capturing were reported from these five constituencies, especially Dausa, Karauli and Bharatpur. 

Taking lessons from the past, the police have deployed over 45,000 personnel in around the polling booths.

“Over 45,000 security personnel, including Central forces, have been deployed to ensure free and fair polls. Besides, extra force has been deployed in villages and areas adjoining sensitive booths,” said Special Director-General of Police (Law and Order) Navdeep Singh.In several constituencies like Dausa, the police are doing door-to-door campaigning asking people to report immediately if they are threatened by any political party.

Special pamphlets containing phone numbers of senior officials, have also been distributed in and around sensitive areas. Union Minster of Youth Affairs and Sports Bhanwar Jitendra Singh is facing stiff competition from BJP’s Mahant Chandnath, who is seen as a disciple of Baba Ramdev and spiritual guru of Yadav community, dominant in Alwar constituency.

 Another Union minister and Congress candidate from Dausa, Namo Narain Meena is facing the heat from his younger brother and BJP candidate Harish Meena, who also served as the director-general of police, Rajasthan, for five years during the Gehlot-led Congress government.  Making the competition tougher is their sworn rival, NPP’s Kirori Lal Meena, as well as independent Anju Devi Dhanka. The division of Meena community votes has now made it difficult to predict the trends in Dausa.

Also, the AAP and BSP are contesting in all the five seats, which has further fuelled trouble for the Congress and BJP. 

Tonk-Sawai Madhopur is yet another constituency which is difficult to predict as both the Congress’ Azhar and BJP’s Sukhbir Singh Jaunpuria have been tagged as outsiders.
Irrespective of local issues, both candidates are contesting elections strongly on party lines.

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