The elections campaigning for Telangana and Rajasthan Assembly elections concluded on Wednesday. Voting in both the states is scheduled to be held on December 7.
Leaders and candidates of the parties addressed election rallies, conducted road shows and door-to-door canvassing in all 119 constituencies in Telangana and 199 constituencies in Rajasthan, going to polls.
The election in Alwar district's Ramgarh constituency has been postponed due to the death of the Bahujan Samaj Party candidate. There are 4.77 crore registered voters in Rajasthan.
In the BJP ruled state, the electioneering initially focused on farmers' issues, corruption and the youth.
The campaign also raised issues related to Hindutva, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi sparred over 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' slogans, and there was a row over the caste of Lord Hanuman.
Modi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and several other Union ministers campaigned in the state, which the Bharatiya Janata Party is fighting to retain.
Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje also crisscrossed the state, travelling by road and by air and addressing at least five meetings a day.
The Congress fielded Rahul Gandhi, party's state unit chief Sachin Pilot and former chief minister Ashok Gehlot in the campaign for the closely contested elections.
Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati also campaigned in the state. The contest is mainly between the BJP and the Congress candidates in about 130 seats.
About 50 other seats will see contests in which rebel candidates from both major parties are in the fray, refusing to step down in favour of the official nominees.
Meanwhile, Telangana will see a little over 2.80 crore eligible voters who will decide the political fortunes of 1,821 candidates in 119 constituencies.
Battle lines are clearly drawn for the first full-fledged Assembly election in India`s youngest state with the ruling TRS and Congress-led People`s Front locked in a tough fight.
BJP is the third major force in Friday`s poll battle but its strength is confined to a few constituencies. The Bahujan Left Front (BLD) led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are also contesting.
Four-and-a-half years after forming the first government in newly created Telangana, riding on the Telangana sentiment, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) is making a determined bid to retain power on the basis of development and welfare schemes, though the slogan of Telangana self-respect also echoed in its campaign.
TRS faces a tough challenge from People`s Front which also includes Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Communist Party of India (CPI) and Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS), a new party floated by M. Kodandaram, who was once KCR`s friend in the Telangana movement.
The elections also mark the beginning of new friendship between the Congress and TDP who have put behind their 37-year-old rivalry to join hands. The Congress is contesting 94 seats, leaving the rest to its allies.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, whose TDP won 15 seats in 2014, has fielded candidates in 13 constituencies. The outcome is expected to be a big test for Naidu`s efforts to forge an anti-BJP alliance at the national level.
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% votes and got 3 seats. Others and independents had 11% vote share.
The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) won 7 seats. This time the YSR Congress is not contesting the election and has declared its support to TRS.
Except eight constituencies in Hyderabad where the MIM has fielded candidates, it is supporting TRS in the rest of the state.
TRS is contesting all seats on its own. It has retained almost all the outgoing MLAs and also gave ticket to nearly two dozen MLAs of Congress and TDP who had crossed over to the ruling party after 2014 elections.
This triggered dissidence in the party and rebels entered the fray in some constituencies.
While the TRS campaign banked on its achievements, the People`s Front and BJP targeted TRS chief K. Chandrashekhar Rao for `family rule` and failure to fulfil the promises.
TDP`s presence in poll fray provided KCR, as Rao is popularly known, a chance to raise the issue of Telangana pride. He called up on people not allow Naidu to set his foot into Telangana from the backdoor, saying the TDP chief would harm the state.
He claimed that TRS alone can safeguard the state`s interests. "Do you want to do ghulami of Delhi?" he asked while taking potshots at the Congress and BJP.
While KCR led the TRS campaign addressing over 100 rallies, Congress President Rahul Gandhi addressed about 25 meetings, including six meetings where he shared dais with Naidu.
Rahul Gandhi addressed a rally in Telangana's Kodad district. Gandhi slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of having a partnership with Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekar Rao.
Rahul also addressed various issued including the plight of farmers in the state, how Congress wants the state to shift from "Made in China" to "Made in Telangana" and much more.
Later, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telegu Desam Party (TDP) chief Chandrababu Naidu was joined by the Congress chief on the last campainging rally ahead of the assembly polls.
While addressing the people in Hyderabad, Rahul also made clear that the Congress intends to 'remove KCR' from Telangana. According to news agency PTI, Rahul said, "Question of who will be CM if Cong-led alliance comes to power in Telangana is premature; first goal is to 'remove KCR'.
Meanwhile, from the BJP, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath addressed a rally in Telangana and assured the gathering that only BJP can deal with the Naxals and ISI activities in the state.
Speaking at Karimnagar, "The BJP will resolve the Naxal issue and act sternly against the anti-India activities of the ISI (Pakistan's spy agency Inter Services Intelligence) to ensure security for every citizen."
He accused the K Chandrashekar Rao-led government of betraying the people of Telangana for the last four-and-a-half years and alleged that prior to this (in undivided Andhra Pradesh), the Congress and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) had "exploited" them.
Earlier on Tuesday, Telangana Congress Working President Revanth Reddy was arrested ahead of the elections rally.
Leaders of Congress party, which is heading four-party People`s Front to take on ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), condemned Revanth`s midnight arrest and highlighted the incident to intensify their attack on what they call the aautocratic rule` of KCR.
TRS President KCR continued his whirlwind tour, addressing public meetings in five constituencies. His son K.T. Rama Rao conducted road shows in Khammam district while nephew Harish Rao also addressed a few meetings.
For Congress party, senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad conducted a road show in Gajwel, the constituency of KCR. Accompanied by actress Nagma, he addressed meetings in other constituencies in Siddipet district.
Congress` star campaigners veteran actress Vijayashanti, Khushboo and former Indian cricket captain Mohammad Azharuddin also participated in the campaign on Tuesday.
Counting of votes in Telangana and Rajasthan is scheduled for December 11.