Over 2,000 candidates are in the fray for 199 assembly seats in Rajasthan, where polling on Friday will determine whether the BJP bucks anti-incumbency and an increasingly aggressive opposition to return to power.
Votes will be cast at 51,687 polling booths, 259 of them managed exclusively by women officials and security personnel.
It is a seen as a straight fight between thefor about 130 seats.
In other constituencies, groups like the Bahujan Samaj Party and rebels who are contesting against official party candidates may queer the pitch.
In the current House, the BJP has 160 seats and the Congress 25.
Vasundhara Raje, who hopes to return as the state’s chief minister, is contesting from Jhalrapatan constituency, considered her bastion.
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This time she face BJP veteran Jaswant Singh’s son Manvendra Singh who has defected to the Congress, complaining that his old party had hurt the pride of the Rajputs by ignoring his father in the last Lok Sabha election.
In Tonk, Sachin Pilot and Rajasthan Transport Minister and BJP candidate Yoonus Khan are face to face. Khan is the only Muslim candidate fielded by his party.
Ashok Gehlot is fighting for the Sardarpura seat.
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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.
The counting for all states is on December 11.
Follow the Rajasthan assembly elections 2018 LIVE UPDATES:
— ANI (@ANI)
— ANI (@ANI)
Voting will now take place in 199 assembly constituencies in Rajasthan instead of 200 on December 7.
6:31 am IST
Voting to begin in 199 constituencies of Rajasthan
The tug of war with a total of 2, 274 candidates in the fray will begin at 8 am and continue till 5 pm. Elections will take place at 51,667 polling stations where 4,74,79,402 people are eligible to cast vote.
6:26 am IST
Rajasthan elections will be held impartially and peacefully: State DGP
“We had started preparations for the polls from June this year. I can confirm that Rajasthan elections will be held impartially and peacefully. Since June, we have taken into custody 2,11,869 warranties. We registered 3,695 cases under Arms Act and arrested 3,653 criminals and recovered 4,156 arms. In a record, we have taken into custody 10,07,467 litres illicit liquor from across the state. During this exercise, as many as10, 209 criminals were arrested,” said Director General of Police OP Gehlotra elaborating the arrangements made for the elections.
6:21 am IST
Besides Vasundhara Raje who is contesting from Jhalrapatan, other top contenders include state Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria from Udaipur, another Minister Rajendra Rathore from Churu, state party president Ashok Parnami from Adarsh Nagar and Anita Bhadel from Ajmer South.
On the other hand, Congress has former MP Rameshwar Lal Dudi from Nokha, Sachin Pilot from Tonk, Ashok Gehlot from Sardarpur and former Rajasthan minister Hemaram Choudhary from Gudha Malani.
6:16 am IST
Political temple run in Aravallis
At a time when entire Rajasthan was abuzz with high-decibel election campaign, a centuries old temple in the Aravallis was witness to footfalls from the who’s who of the state’s political arena.
It is believed that goddess Tripura Sundari posses mystic power to fulfil wishes of success in politics, which draws scores of political bigwigs cutting across party lines.
Among other high profile devotees, the temple saw visits of Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Congress’ Digvijay Singh, former Rajasthan Governor SK Singh and former Rajasthan Chief Minister Haridev Joshi.
6:06 am IST
Alwar group makes candidates sign affidavit of promises for votes
A group in Alwar has reached out to candidates contesting polls in Rajasthan, asking them to sign an agreement which states that if elected, they would focus on resolving various civic issues including those of cleanliness and stray animals within a year or resign.
5: 52 am IST
Rs 15 crore unaccounted cash seized during campaign period
Rs 15 crore has been seized as unaccounted cash during the campaign period. Liquor worth Rs 25 crore, drugs worth Rs 7.48 crore, gold and silver worth Rs 6.88 crore and vehicles worth Rs 11.89 crore were also seized. Over 4,000 illegal arms were seized after the model code of conduct came into force last month.
5:47 am IST
13,182 booths identified as critical, 4,146 villages identified as vulnerable
Chief electoral officer Anand Kumar said 13,182 booths are being called “critical” and as many as 4,146 “vulnerable” villages have been identified. Central Reserve Police Force personnel will be stationed at 7,791 booths.
“Micro observers will be deployed at 4,982 booths, videographers at 3,948 and there will be webcasting from 3,138,” he said.
4:45 am IST
VVPAT machines being used in Rajasthan for the 1st time: CEC
”It is for the first time that VVPAT machines are being used in Rajasthan. More than two lakh electronic voting machines (EVMs) and verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines will be used in the elections,” chief electoral officer Anand Kumar said.
4:43 am IST
Election in Ramgarh constituency put off due to death of BSP candidate
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.
4:42 am IST
Heavy security deployment for polling day
2,274 candidates are contesting in Rajasthan which has 4.74 crore registered voters, election officials told news agency PTI. About 1.44 lakh security personnel have been deployed for polling day.
Rajasthan Director General of Police O P Galhotra said foolproof security arrangements are in place.
Rajasthan assembly elections 2018 LIVE Updates: Voter turnout recorded 41.53% till 1 pm – Hindustan Times