The counting of votes for 199 of the 200 Assembly constituencies will take place at 37 centres in 33 districts
Rajasthan witnesses a keen fight between Congress led by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and BJP’s Vasundhara Raje with both the parties facing each other in all the 200 constituencies. As many as 2,087 candidates are in the fray in the desert state.
The results of the Rajasthan Assembly elections to be declared on Sunday are set to decide the political future of several stalwarts in both the ruling Congress and Opposition BJP.
While Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot will monitor the poll results at his official residence in Civil Lines here, State BJP president Vasundhara Raje will go to Banswara in southern Rajasthan to worship at the historic Tripura Sundari temple, from where she will leave for her home constituency Jhalrapatan. She is likely to come back to Jaipur by the afternoon.
The counting of votes for 199 of the 200 Assembly constituencies will take place at 37 centres in 33 districts of the State amid tight security arrangements.
Mr. Gehlot, who rubbished the exit polls predicting the BJP’s lead as “managed and deceptive,” will rise in stature if the Congress comes back to power. His recommendations for giving ticket to candidates from the Marwar region, where his home constituency Sardarpura is situated, will also come under test with the victory or defeat margins.
In case of defeat, Mr. Gehlot is likely to be squarely held responsible, even though AICC general secretary and former Union Minister C.P. Joshi was appointed chairman of the Pradesh Congress election campaign committee. According to political observers here, Mr. Gehlot may be called to New Delhi and given a responsibility in the party’s central establishment if the Congress is voted out.
State BJP president and former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje was given a free handin the distribution of tickets as she led the party for the third time in fighting the elections. While the BJP’s triumph will prove right the central leadership’s confidence in her, a rout is likely to take her away from the State politics for several years to come.
Prominent among other BJP leaders whose fate depends on the post-result position of the party are the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Gulab Chand Kataria, Rajya Sabha MP Bhupendra Yadav, in-charge for the State Kaptan Singh Solanki and national secretary Kirit Somaiya.
Mr. Somaiya made regular visits to the State capital during the election campaign and produced documents to level charges of corruption and misuse of authority by the Congress. Mr. Kataria, earlier considered a rival to Ms. Raje, publicly opposed giving ticket to several persons whom he deemed unsuitable. His position in the Mewar region will depend on the poll outcome.
In the Congress camp, the leaders who managed the poll affairs included AICC general secretary Gurudas Kamat, Pradesh Congress president Chandrabhan, Union Minister Sis Ram Ola and Ministers of State Sachin Pilot and Jitendra Singh, besides Mr. Joshi. Mr. Joshi is seen as a strong contender for the Chief Minister’s post if the Congress romps home to form the second successive government.
Mr. Chandrabhan himself fought election from Mandawa facing sitting MLA Rita Chaudhary who turned rebel, while Mr. Ola exercised authority in the distribution of tickets in Jhunjhunu region, causing resentment among many who were left out. Similarly, Mr. Pilot had a role in selection of candidates in Ajmer and Dausa and Mr. Singh in Alwar and Bharatpur.
Political observers believe that the results in Rajasthan would affect the stature of Congress leaders here and significantly influence the party’s preparations for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.