Voting for high-stakes Rajasthan assembly polls begins

Congress eyes another term, BJP banks on anti-incumbency trend

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Polling for 199 assembly seats in Rajasthan began on Saturday morning. The ruling Congress hopes to retain power in the state while the BJP puts its hope in the state's tradition of changing governments every five years.

Rajasthan has a total of 200 assembly seats but polling will be held on 199 seats as election in Karanpur seat of Sriganganagar district was postponed following the death of Congress candidate Gurmeet Singh Koonar.

There are 5,25,38,105 voters in the 199 assembly constituencies.

Congress leader Ashok Gehlot who is in his third term as chief minister is contesting from Sardarpura, a seat he has been representing since 1998. He is up against BJP's Mahendra Singh Rathore, former chairman of the Jodhpur Development Authority. Other key players in the fray include BJP leader and former chief minister Vasundhara Raje, former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot, state Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasra, speaker CP Joshi and leader of opposition Rajendra Rathore among others.

Raje, who has been chief minister twice, is contesting from Jhalrapatan constituency, which she currently represents. Congress's Ram Lal Chauhan has been pitted against her.

While the Congress's poll manifesto focused on the party's 'seven guarantees', including a caste survey, the BJP has tried to woo women, youth and farmers of the state by promising subsidised LPG cylinders, anti-Romeo squads and increased minimum support price (MSP) for wheat.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday requested all voters to exercise their franchise and create a new voting record in the state.

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