In what is being seen as a big test for all political parties ahead of the crucial Lok Sabha elections in 2019, the counting of votes for the assembly elections held in Rajasthan on December 7 will take place on December 11, Tuesday.
The outcome of the assembly elections will prove if the ruling BJP, which hopes to buck the two-decade trend of the incumbent losing power, will retain power in Rajasthan. Meanwhile, Congress – the main opposition party – is equally hopeful of making a comeback in the state.
Polling was held in the single phase for 199 out of the 200 Assembly seats in Rajasthan on December 7, Friday. Polling in Alwar district’s Ramgarh was postponed due to the death of BSP candidate Laxman Singh.
Though there were reports of EVMs malfunctioning at some polling booths, the polling was largely peaceful. According to state's Chief Electoral Officer Anand Kumar, a voter turnout of 72.62 per cent was recorded in Rajasthan.
A political party or bloc needs 101 seats to establish a majority in the Rajasthan state assembly.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje has been challenged by Congress candidate Manvendra Singh, son of senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh, in Jhalrapatan, the constituency she has represented since 2003. Manvendra Singh switched to the Congress just before the elections.
Ahead of the declaration of results, both the parties have exuded confidence that they will emerge as a winner in the crucial polls.
The Congress claims that there is huge anti-incumbency. In the last round of by-elections in February, the party wrested the Ajmer and Alwar Lok Sabha seats and the Mandalgarh assembly seat from the BJP.
While BJP has contested the polls with Raje as its main face, the Congress is yet to announce a chief ministerial candidate in Rajasthan. Both Congress party's election in-charge Sachin Pilot and former chief minister Ashok Gehlot are seen as the front-runners for the top job.
Electorally, Rajasthan has swung between the BJP and the Congress in the five elections since 1993. The Congress, which won only 21 assembly seats in 2013 against the BJP's 161, would need an 8 per cent swing in its favour to win the elections this time.
The exits polls conducted by a number of news channels recently indicated a clear majority for the Congress in Rajasthan.