Of the 17 women contesting in 20 constituencies in the first phase, three sitting MPs, including two Congress Union ministers Chandresh Kumari Katoch and Girija Vyas hope to cash in on their work to secure victory at the hustings.

A total of 239 candidates are fighting in the first phase on April 17. Rajasthan, which has a total 25 constituencies, will witness the second phase of polls for five seats on April 24 for which the nomination process is on.

Union minister and Congress' Katoch, who has assets worth over Rs 10 crore, is fighting to retain her Jodhpur seat. She bagged the seat in 2009 after defeating the then BJP sitting MP Jaswant Singh Bishnoi by over 98,000 votes.

The Jodhpur constituency, which had sent Ashok Gehlot to Parliament five times, is also being eyed by Independent candidates Mehmooda Begum and Jayda, who is an illiterate.

In Jhunjhunu, the five women in fray are BJP's Santosh Ahlawat, Congress' Raj Bala Ola, BSP's Rahisa Bano, Megh Desham Party's Urmila and Independent candidate Rajbala.

Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Girija Vyas, also from Congress, is fighting to retain her position from Chittorgarh where two other women CPI's Radha Devi and
Rajasthan Vikas Party's Vijaya Ray has thrown in hats.

Congress' Jyoti Mirdha, who holds an MBBS degree and is the richest woman in the first phase of polls from the state, is the sitting MP from Nagaur that lies about midway between Jodhpur and Bikaner.

Women constitute about 50 percent of total 4.2 crore voters expected to exercise franchise from the border state.

(Agencies)

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