Jaipur/Hyderabad: After a high-voltage campaign that saw war of words among contending parties, Rajasthan and Telangana are set for Assembly Election 2018 to be held on Friday, December 7. While a tough contest between the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to be witnessed in 199 out of 200 Assembly constituencies in Rajasthan, a triangular competition is on the cards among the Congress-led alliance, consisting of the TDP, CPI and TJS, the ruling TRS, and the BJP in Telangana.
In Rajasthan, 2,274 candidates are in the fray for 199 Assembly seats. Votes will be cast at 51,687 polling booths out of which 13,182 are being called ‘critical’ and 259 of them will be managed exclusively by women officials and security personnel. About 1.44 lakh security personnel have been deployed for polling day. More than two lakh electronic voting machines (EVMs) and verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines will be used in the elections. Of the total 4,74, 37,761 registered voters, 2.27 crore are women and 20,20,156 are registered as first-time voters.
In Telangana, as many as 1,821 candidates, including a transgender, are in the fray in the election. Polling for 119-member House will start at 7 am and end at 5 pm, while in 13 constituencies which were classified as Left Wing Extremist-affected, polling ends one hour before (4 pm). Over 2.80 crore electorate are eligible to exercise their franchise in the State, which has a total of 32,815 polling stations across. In terms of security, about one lakh police personnel including 25,000 central paramilitary forces and 20,000 from other states have been deployed for poll duty. Vigil has also been beefed up at bordering areas which were identified as Left Wing Extremist-affected regions.
For Rajasthan Assembly Election 2018, the BJP has fielded candidates for all 199 seats and the Congress for 194. For the five remaining seats, the Congress is in alliance with other parties. The BSP has fielded 190 candidates, the CPI (M) 28 and CPI 16. The state assembly has 200 seats, but election in Alwar district’s Ramgarh constituency has been put off due to the death of Bahujan Samaj Party candidate Laxman Singh.
If the BJP wins, Vasundhara Raje hopes to return as the state’s chief minister. She is contesting from Jhalrapatan constituency against BJP veteran Jaswant Singh’s son Manvendra Singh. Meanwhile, if the Congress wins, it is expected to pick between former chief minister Ashok Gehlot, who is contesting from Sardarpura seat, and state party president Sachin Pilot, who will fight from Tonk, for the top post in the state.
For Telangana polls, the Congress has stitched together “Prajakutami” (People’s Front) along with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the Telangana Jana Samiti (TJS) and the CPI to take on the ruling TRS, led by caretaker Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) and the BJP. The elections were originally scheduled to be held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections next year, but the House was dissolved on September 6 as per a recommendation by the state Cabinet.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed 12 major rallies in Rajasthan and several in Telangana. For Congress, the campaign was spearheaded by party president Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi in both the states.
Telangana and Rajasthan are the last states to go to the polls in the current round of assembly elections which also covered Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram. Counting of votes for all five states is on December 11.