Times of India : Oct 22, 2019, 12:06 PM
JAIPUR: Mandawa and Khinvsar Assembly constituencies in Rajasthan recorded low voter turnout of 69.62% and 62.61%, respectively, in the bypolls held on Monday. The counting of votes will take place on October 24.Both seats are witnessing a direct fight between BJP and Congress candidates. In Mandawa, former Congress MLA Rita Chaudhary is taking on BJP’s Sushila Devi. In Khinvsar, Narayan Singh of RLP, an alliance partner of BJP, is fighting against Congress’ ex-minister Harendra Mirdha.In 2018, Rita lost to BJP’s Narendra Kumar by a slender margin, while Beniwal romped home with a margin of 16,948 votes. The bypolls were necessitated as the sitting MLAs later got elected to the Lok Sabha.The voting percentage has taken a plunge in the bypoll compared to the last assembly elections. While 73.57% voters exercised their franchise in Mandawa seat in Jhunjhunu district, 75.58% cast their vote in Khinvsar in Nagaur district in the last state polls.Polling in both the constituencies began at 7 am amid tight security and continued till 6 pm, said state chief electoral officer Anad Kumar.Barring a few incidents of malfunction of voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines at some polling stations, voting was held peacefully, claimed the election office. Three VVPATs in Mandawa assembly constituency and five VVPAT in Khinvsar assembly constituency were replaced due to technical faults, but voting was not disrupted, claimed Kumar.Videos of Jhunjhunu MP Narendra Kumar going around a few polling booths created controversy following which the Congress complained to the returning officer.As many as 12 candidates — nine in Mandawa and three in Khinvsar — are in the fray.As many as 259 polling booths were set up in Mandawa for 2,27,414 voters while Khinvsar had 266 booths for 2,50,155 voters. Sixty polling stations in Mandawa and 121 in Khinvsar were identified as ‘sensitive’.