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2194 candidates in fray for R'sthan polls

india Updated: Nov 24, 2008 12:25 IST
2194 candidates in fray at R'sthan polls

The number of candidates for the December 4 Rajasthan Assembly polls shows a marked increase from 1,541 in the last elections to 2,194, showing a jump of 653 contestants more this year.

Out of 200 seats going to polls this year, the ruling BJP could field 193 candidates, while the major Opposition party Congress contested on all 200 seats, followed by BSP at 199.

Besides recongised parties, altogether 1,019 Independents are vying for the polls as against 556 Indpendents in the last assembly poll in 2003.

Of 2,194 contestants this year, there are 2,052 male and 142 female candidates. BJP and Congress fielded 32 and 23 women contestants respectively.

In last polls, there were just 118 women contestants out of which 13 had won. Sumitra Singh, currently the Assembly Speaker (a Jat leader earlier with the Congress and now with the BJP) had won nine times consecutively.

Sumitra is again contesting from Mandawa seat.

Another Congress stalwart and Jat leader, Kamla Beniwal, who represented her assembly constituency seven times, is not contesting this time due to old age, but she actively participates in the party's entire election campaign under the direction of the AICC high command.

Smaller political parties have fielded more candidates this time as compared to the 2003 polls. BSP which fielded 124 candidates in 2003 has covered 199 seats thanks to Mayawati's social engineering pattern in Uttar Pradesh which psephologists say might work in Rajasthan too.

CPI raised its number from 15 to 21, CPI(M) 18 to 33, LJP and SP whose numbers were insignificant in the last polls fielded 86 and 64 candidates respectively. Only NCP reduced its number of candidates from 55 to 38.

BJP enabled its national alliance partner INLD to contest four seats and JD(U) fielded four contestants but one of its nomination was found invalid in Kotputali.

The increase in the number of candidates has been attributed to more rebellions in the poll fray. BJP's 54 and Congress's 56 rebels are trying their luck in this year's poll despite the BJP expelling 17 dissidents last week.

In the last polls, the number of expelled workers contesting on another party's tickets was not very significant as the Congress party which had 155 MLAs in the 200 member House dropped only a senior leader.

This time, both parties put up new faces, more women and implemented suo moto guidelines to select candidates.