Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called upon the electorate in Rajasthan to turn out in force and set a new voting record. His rallying cry was accompanied by well-wishes extended to the first-time voters in the state. Today marks the polling for the 199 seats of the Rajasthan assembly, with data from the Election Commission of India revealing a roster of 1,862 candidates vying for these positions.
An impressive 5,25,38,105 voters in the state hold the power to determine the fate of these candidates. While the BJP contests across all seats, the ruling Congress party has designated just one seat – Bharatpur – for its ally Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), replicating a strategy employed during the 2018 elections.
This electoral contest holds immense significance for both the Congress and BJP in Rajasthan. Notable figures such as Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, state Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasra, and assembly speaker CP Joshi, among others, are contesting on behalf of the Congress. Meanwhile, the BJP lineup includes leaders like Rajendra Rathore, Satish Poonia, Vasundhara Raje, and MPs Diya Kumari, Rajyavardhan Rathore, Baba Balaknath, and Kirodi Lal Meena. The BJP's inclusion of Vijay Bainsla, son of late Gurjar leader Kirodi Singh Bainsla, as a candidate further emphasizes their intent.
Noteworthy new entrants into the political sphere include former chief secretary Niranjan Arya, vying for a position as a Congress candidate. The BJP has backed 59 MLAs, including defected Congress MLA Girraj Singh Malinga, alongside six Lok Sabha and one Rajya Sabha member. In contrast, the Congress has fielded 97 MLAs, including seven independents and Shobharani Kushwah, formerly with the BJP, expelled last year. Former Nagaur MP Jyoti Mirdha's transition to the BJP as a contender in the assembly elections adds a compelling dimension to this contest.
Presently, the Congress holds 107 MLAs, the BJP 70, with 3 RLP, 2 each of CPI (M) and Bhartiya Tribal Party (BTP), 1 Rashtriya Lok Dal, 13 independents, and two vacant seats (Udaipur and Karanpur).
The Election Commission has undertaken extensive measures for smooth polling in Rajasthan, deploying 65,277 ballot units, 62,372 control units, and 67,580 VVPAT machines across the state. Additionally, 6,287 micro observers and 6247 sector officers have been appointed. Over 1,02,290 security personnel, comprising 69,114 police personnel, 32,876 Rajasthan Home Guard, Forest Guard, RAC personnel, and 700 CAPF companies, are ensuring the maintenance of peace during the voting process.
Each assembly constituency will see three flying squads and an equivalent number of Static Surveillance Teams (SST) for rigorous inspection and monitoring on election day.