Over 47,000 booths set up across State as 2,087 candidates contest for 199 Assembly seats

Campaigning for the Assembly elections in Rajasthan came to a close on Friday with a battery of star campaigners from both Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party addressed rallies in the State.

With the election in Churu having been countermanded after the death of Bahujan Samaj Party candidate Jagdish Meghwal, polling will take place in 199 constituencies in the State on Sunday. Over 47,000 polling booths are being set up across the State — the largest in the country.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot held a road-show in his Sardarpura constituency while State BJP president Vasundhara Raje campaigned in Kota district’s Itawa. Ms. Raje, who has addressed over 80 rallies during the last fortnight, claimed that her party would get an overwhelming response from the electorate. She was presented the famous Kota Doria saree by locals.

The BJP’s prime-ministerial candidate Narendra Modi addressed three election rallies in Sumerpur, Pokhran and Jodhpur during the day.

Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Sachin Pilot and Vijay Bahuguna addressed rallies at various places in the State, while Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Janata Dal (United) president Sharad Yadav were in Jaipur for the last day of campaigning.

State BJP leader Omkar Singh Lakhawat claimed the party was “far ahead” of the ruling Congress, as manifest in the size of the audiences the BJP’s rallies drew. BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi was in the State Capital to assess the situation in the wake of the high-voltage campaigning.

A total of 2,087 candidates are in the fray for 199 Assembly seats. All the candidates are expected to spend time till Sunday on door-to-door canvassing. While the Congress and BJP are contesting from all the seats, the National People’s Party, which has emerged as a strong alternative, has fielded its candidates from 150 Assembly segments and the BSP from over 100.

Earlier, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi had addressed a series of rallies, even as Mr. Modi visited 20 districts for his election meetings. The Congress leaders launched a blistering attack on BJP, accusing it of dividing the people on the basis of religion and caste for electoral benefits.

The rally addressed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at Ramlila ground in Jaipur a week ago caused embarrassment to the Congress for the thin turnout it experienced.