134 candidates to battle in 12 LS seats of Raj on Mon

PTI file photo.

Two former Olympians, one former IAS and one former IPS officer, and two seers are among the 134 candidates whose fate will be decided by voters in Rajasthan's 12 Lok Sabha seats that will go to the polls on Monday.

Of the 12 seats where polling will take place from 7 am to 6 pm, Jaipur Rural, Bikaner, Dausa and Alwar are some of the keenly-watched constituencies.

Former Olympians Rajyawardhan Rathore and Krishna Poonia have locked horns in the Jaipur Rural seat, where sitting MP Rathore is banking on the Prime Minister Narendra Modi factor. The BJP nominee has underlined national security as a key issue during campaigning, whereas Congress MLA Poonia has questioned the works done by Rathore in the constituency in her campaign.

The seat, which former Army officer Rathore had won with a margin of 3.32 lakh votes in 2014, is dominated by Jats. Thus, the caste equation is favourable for Poonia, who hails from the community.

In Bikaner, Union minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Arjun Ram Meghwal is facing a tough fight from his cousin, Congress candidate Madangopal Meghwal.

Arjun Ram Meghwal is a former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, while Madangopal Meghwal is a former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer.

From Nagaur, founder of the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) Hanuman Beniwal is in the fray against Congress candidate and former MP Jyoti Mirdha.

The RLP is an ally of the BJP. Beniwal was himself in the saffron party earlier.

Mirdha, who comes from an influential family of politicians, had won the seat in 2009 but in 2014, he had lost to BJP's C R Chaudhary, who went on to become a Union minister.

A Congress bastion, Nagaur was represented in the Lok Sabha by Jyoti Mirdha's grandfather and prominent Jat leader Nathuram Mirdha for six times since 1971.

Two seers -- Sumedhanand Saraswati and Baba Balaknath -- are contesting the polls from Sikar and Alwar respectively. Both are from the BJP and Sumedhanand is the sitting MP from Sikar.

In Alwar, the Congress has fielded former Union minister and ex-royal Bhanwar Jitendra Singh.

In Dausa, both the BJP and the Congress candidates are women. While the saffron party has fielded former MP Jaskaru Meena, the Congress has given a ticket to Savita Meena, the wife of party MLA Murari Meena.

In the fifth phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha election, polling will be held in Ganganagar, Bikaner, Churu, Jhunjhunu, Sikar, Jaipur Rural, Jaipur, Alwar, Bharatpur, Karauli-Dholpur, Dausa and Nagaur, from where 134 candidates, including 16 women, are in the fray.

A total of 2.30 crore voters will exercise their franchise in these 12 constituencies, where 23,783 polling stations have been set up.

"Preparations have been completed. Adequate security arrangements have been made to ensure free-and-fair polling," state Chief Electoral Officer Anand Kumar said.

Rajasthan has 25 Lok Sabha seats, of which 13 had gone to the polls in the fourth phase on April 29. The results will be announced on May 23.

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