Rajasthan, Telangana go to elections today
The results of polls in Rajasthan and Telangana along with those in three other states can be a pointer to which way the wind is blowing ahead of next year’s general elections
JAIPUR/HYDERABAD: RAJASTHAN and Telangana will go to the polls on Friday in a high-stakes battle, the results of which along with those in three other states can be a pointer to which way the wind is blowing ahead of next year’s general elections.
The BJP and the Congress are locked In A tough ight In RAJASTHAN, which has not voted the same party to power for more than one term in the last 20 years, while in Telangana the ruling TRS is facing a resurgent Congress-led People’s Front in its bid for a second term.
The contest is largely bipolar between the BJP and Congress for the 200-member Rajasthan Assembly but is expected to be triangular, especially in some seats, for the 119-member Telangana assembly where the Congress has tied up with unlikely rival TDP, CPI and Telangana JANA SAMITHI (TJS), A new party loated by M. Kodandaram, who was once Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s friend in the Telangana movement.
The campaign in both the states has been bitter with personalised attacks by leaders of various parties.
In RAJASTHAN, THE BJP Is IGHTING anti-incumbency to retain power.
While over 4.74 crore people are eligible to vote in Rajasthan, there are over 2.80 crore voters in Telangana.
The voting will start at 7 a.m. in Telangana and at 8 a.m. in Rajasthan AND VVPATS (voter VERIIABLE paper audit trail) will be used in all the constituencies. Voters will also have NOTA (none of the above) option.
Tight security has been made in both the states and the results will be declared on December 11 along with those of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram.
Telangana has 51,796 polling stations, an increase of 14.25 per cent over the previous election in 2013.
In Telangana, the political fortunes of 1,821 candidates will be decided in 119 Constituencies In THE irst Election after Telangana was formed.
Election authorities have made elaborate arrangements for a smooth conduct of the polling process in 32,815 polling stations.
According to Telangana’s Chief Electoral OFICER RAJAT Kumar, polling will be held from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. in 106 constituencies while in 13 Left Wing Extremism affected constituencies polling will conclude at 4 p.m.
As the Communist Party of Indiamaoist has given a call for boycott of elections, the police heightened vigil in areas bordering Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra.
The TRS government Dissolved the Assembly about eight months ahead of schedule in the hope of taking the opposition parties by surprise but the Congress threw a surprise by coming up with an alliance in a bid to oust the ruling party.
Telangana Chief Minister and TRS President K. Chandrashekhar Rao, his 14 cabinet colleagues including a son and a nephew and state presidents of the Congress and the BJP are among 1,821 candidates in the fray for Friday’s Assembly elections.
All India Majlis-e-ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Akbaruddin Owaisi, state Congress working President A. Revanth Reddy and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) founder NT Rama Rao’s granddaughter N. Suhasini are among the other key candidates whose political fortunes will be decided in the polling on Friday.
KCR, as the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief is popularly known, is seeking re-election from Gajwel constituency in Siddipet district. The 64-year-old, who never lost an Assembly or Lok Sabha elections since making HIS DEBUT In 1985, Is Conident of yet another victory.
KCR’S son KT Rama Rao, who is number two in both party and government, is aiming for a third term from Sircilla constituency.
KCR’S nephew and cabinet minister T. Harish Rao appears set to retain Siddipet seat for the fourth term in a row. Considered a powerful leader in the ruling party, he also won two byelections from the same seat.
Among the other ministers, Etela RAJENDER, who Holds inance portfolio, is testing his fortunes once again from Huzurabad.
Congress party’s Telangana unit chief N. Uttam Kumar Reddy, who may emerge as a strong contender for the Chief Minister’s post in the event of Congress-led People’s Front coming to power, is contesting for a third consecutive term.
Revanth Reddy is another key contestant. Revanth, whose midnight arrest on Tuesday triggered a storm, is contesting again from Kodangal, considered a politically sensitive constituency.
Polling officers gather before leaving for their assigned polling stations in Hyderabad on Thursday.