Rajasthan elections: Polling begins for 199 assembly seats

Rajasthan elections: Polling begins for 199 assembly seats

Jaipur, Nov 25 (PTI) Polling began Saturday morning for the 199 assembly seats in Rajasthan where the BJP is going all out to wrest power from the Congress which hopes to beat the state's anti-incumbency tradition.

'Polling began at 7 am today. A total of 51,507 polling booths have been set up across the state,' Rajasthan's chief electoral officer Praveen Gupta said.

Union Minister of State Kailash Chaudhary was among the first to cast his vote, exercising his franchise in Balotra.

Rajasthan has a total of 200 assembly seats but polling will be held on 199 seats as election in Karanpur seat of Sriganganagar district was postponed following the death of Congress candidate Gurmeet Singh Koonar. There are 5,25,38,105 voters in the 199 assembly constituencies.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot (Sardarpura), former chief minister Vasundhara Raje (Jhalrapatan), former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot (Tonk), state PCC chief Govind Singh Dotasra (Lachhmangarh), RLP convenor Hanuman Beniwal (Khinvsar) are some of the key faces among the 1,862 candidates in the fray.

More than 1.70 lakh security personnel have been deployed across the state. 70,000 Rajasthan Police personnel, 18,000 Rajasthan Home Guards, 2,000 Rajasthan Border Home Guards, 15,000 Home Guards of other states (Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh), 120 RAC Companies have been deployed for the day.

While the ruling Congress is hoping that it will retain its government in Rajasthan, opposition party BJP is eyeing a return in the state ahead of the Lok Sabha polls next year.

The results of the polls will be declared on December 3.

Gehlot who is in his third term as chief minister is contesting from Sardarpura, a seat he has been representing since 1998. The chief minister is up against BJP's Mahendra Singh Rathore, former chairman of the Jodhpur Development Authority.

In Tonk, which has a sizable Muslim population, Congress party's former state chief Sachin Pilot will face BJP’s Ajit Singh Mehta, who represented the seat in 2013.

This is the second assembly election for Pilot, who has previously won Lok Sabha polls from Dausa and Ajmer.

Former chief minister Vasundhara Raje is contesting from Jhalrapatan constituency, which she currently represents with Congress' Ram Lal Chauhan pitted against her. She has been the chief minister for two terms.

Jat leader Hanuman Beniwal, who founded the Rastriya Loktantrik Party, could be a concern for both the BJP and Congress in Khinvsar.

Several leaders of the BJP and Congress have rebelled against their parties after being denied a ticket Chief BJP rebels include former assembly speaker Kailash Meghwal, Chandrabhan Akya from Chittorgarh and former transport minister Yoonus Khan from Deedwana.

In Congress, main rebel candidates include Joharilal Meena from Rajgarh-Laxmangarh, Gopal Baheti in Pushkar, Habiburrahman from Nagaur, Virendra Beniwal in Lunkaransar, Khiladi Lal Bairwa in Baseri, and Dr. Param Navdeep Singh in Sangaria.

The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) are also contesting the assembly polls in the state. PTI AG SDA SKY SZM

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