Voting for the upcoming Rajasthan assembly elections will be held on November 23 and votes will be counted on December 3, the Election Commission of India (ECI) announced on Monday, setting the stage for assembly polls in five states – including Rajasthan – the last set of state elections before the all-important Lok Sabha elections in April and May next year.
According to the ICE, the official gazette notification for the exercise will be issued on October 30, while November 3 is the deadline for submitting nominations. Scrutiny of nominations will take place on November 7, while the deadline for candidates to withdraw their candidacy is November 9. Furthermore, the election must end before December 5.
In recent years, Rajasthan voters have not given their current government a second consecutive term, alternating between the BJP and Congress – the two national parties – every five years. Therefore, the ruling Congress will hope to reverse the trend, while the BJP will hope the trend continues.
In December 2018, the grand old party ousted the saffron party from power by winning 100 seats (21 in 2013) in the 200-member assembly, while the latter won 73 seats (163 in 2013). Although it fell short of a majority by just one seat, the Congress garnered the support of some independents as well as Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) legislators to form the government, with veteran Ashok Gehlot returning as prime minister after two previous terms (1998 -2003). ; 2008-2013) and Sachin Pilot, then head of the party’s state unit, was appointed deputy chief minister. The Congress will be held again under the leadership of Gehlot.
The BJP, on the other hand, is not projecting a prime ministerial face and is instead banking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity to win. Its highest leader in this desert state is Vasundhara, Raje Scindia, who held the CM chair twice (2003-2008; 2013-2018).