A high-octane campaign that witnessed a large number of election rallies in which the BJP and the Congress sparred over corruption, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s caste and Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s ‘dynasty’ ended in Rajasthan and Telangana on Wednesday.
In Rajasthan, as many as 2,274 candidates including 189 women are in the fray for 199 out of the 200 assembly constituencies. The election in Alwar district’s Ramgarh constituency has been postponed due to the death of Bahujan Samaj Party candidate Laxman Singh.
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“Electioneering ended at 5 pm today. Polling will take place from 8 am to 5 pm on December 7 in 199 constituencies,” Rajasthan’s chief electoral officer Anand Kumar said.
He said elaborate security arrangements have been made for free and fair polls. There are 4.77 crore registered voters in Rajasthan. In the BJP ruled state, electioneering brought up issues like farmers’ problems, corruption and jobs for the youth.
Both parties promised an unemployment allowance to the educated youth. The Congress promised a loan waiver for farmers. The campaign also saw Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi taking digs at each other over Bharat Mata ki Jai’ slogans.
In Telangana, the fight is expected to be triangular, especially in some seats, for the 119-member Telangana assembly where the Congress has tied up with unlikely rival TDP, CPI and Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS), a new party floated by M. Kodandaram, who was once KCR's friend in the Telangana movement to form 'Praja Kutami" (People's Front).
In Telangana, the Congress surprised the rival TRS by coming up with an alliance in a bid to oust the ruling party and has made the election a tough battle between the two sides. The BJP is seeking to emerge as a key player in the state.
Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM is in the fray in eight seats and is extending support to TRS in the rest of the state.
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao had gone into the poll mode about five months ahead of schedule in the hope of taking the opposition parties by surprise.
But the Congress sprang a surprise by forging an alliance that included its erstwhile adversary TDP. The opposition seems to have been able to put its act together despite "early mover" advantage of TRS which had declared its candidates early.
In Telangana, leaders of the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi and Congress held hectic campaigning on the last day.
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, who has not campaigned in several past elections, made an exception and addressed a rally in Telangana to boost prospects of Congress-led People's Front. She also made an appeal to voters through a video message.
The new state of Telangana was created when Congress-led UPA government was in power.
The BJP, which had contested the last polls in alliance with the TDP, is seeking to emerge as a major player in Telangana with both Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah having addressed rallies there.
In the 2014 Assembly elections which were held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls, TRS polled 33% votes bagging 63 seats while Congress secured 21 seats with 24% votes. TDP and its then ally BJP secured 15 and 5 seats respectively with 21% votes (TDP 14%+BJP 7%).
The YSR Congress had polled 3 per cent votes and got three seats. Others and independents had 11 per cent vote share.
While over 4.74 crore people are eligible to cast their vote in Rajasthan, there are over 2.80 crore voters in Telangana.
Tight security arrangements have been made for the polls in both Telangana and Rajasthan with the results to be declared on December 11 along with those of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram.
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