The final leg of the 2018 assembly elections came to an end Friday, with voters of Rajasthan and Telangana coming out in large numbers to cast their votes. While Rajasthan registered a voter turnout of 73.85 percent, Telangana recorded 67 percent turnout. The figures are likely to go up as voting is still underway at some polling stations in Telangana.
The overall turnout in Rajasthan last time was 75.5 percent, while it was 69.5 percent in Telangana. Voting for 119 constituencies in Telangana began at 7 am, while it started at 8 am for 199 out of 200 seats in Rajasthan. In Rajasthan, the police reported a few clashes among supporters, but said polling was largely peaceful. Paramilitary jawans opened fire in the air to disperse miscreants trying to force their way into a booth at a village in Alwar’s Shahjahapur. In Bikaner’s Kolayat, two groups clashed outside a polling booth and a vehicle was torched. In Sikar too there was a clash.
While Rajasthan is likely to witness a tough contest between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress, a three-way battle between the Congress-led alliance (consisting of TDP, TJS and CPI), the BJP and the TRS is expected in Telangana.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, who is seeking her second term, is fighting against former BJP leader Jaswant Singh’s son Manvendra Singh in Jhalrapatan, the constituency she has represented since 2003. Manvendra Singh switched to Congress just before the election, making the fight tougher for Raje this time. She had won 63 percent of the votes cast in 2013, winning the seat by a margin of 60,896.
Tonk, with a sizeable Muslim population, is a keenly-watched contest between Sachin Pilot and BJP candidate and Rajasthan Transport Minister Yoonus Khan, who is the saffron party’s only Muslim face in the elections. This is a maiden assembly election for Pilot, a two-time MP who is seen as a chief ministerial possibility if the Congress wins. He has represented Dausa and Ajmer Lok Sabha constituencies in the past. In the current House, the BJP has 160 seats and the Congress 25 in 200-member assembly.
Meanwhile, in Telangana, the Congress has stitched together “Praja Kutami” (People’s Front) along with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the Telangana Jana Samiti (TJS) and the Communist Party of India (CPI) to take on the ruling TRS, which is seeking a second term in office.
TRS supremo and caretaker Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao exuded confidence that his party would come back to power in Telangana with a “huge majority.”
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said, “I am fully confident that we will be successful in every seat. I hope the people of Hyderabad, people of Telangana will vote for us.” His party has fielded candidates in eight constituencies and is supporting the TRS in other segments.
Overall, voting was largely peaceful in both states.
In Rajasthan, the election in Ramgarh constituency of Alwar district was put off following the death of Bahujan Samaj Party candidate Laxman Singh while Congress in Telangana alleged that party candidate in Kalwakurthy Assembly segment, Vamsichand Reddy, was attacked by BJP cadre in Amangal where he had gone to observe the poll pattern.
The results will be declared on December 11.