Campaigning ends for 12 Raj LS seats going to polls in phase 1 | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Campaigning ends for 12 Raj LS seats going to polls in phase 1

ByHT Correspondent I Edited by Shilpa Ambardar, Jaipur
Apr 17, 2024 08:21 PM IST

High-decibel campaign for first phase of Lok Sabha elections in Rajasthan ends, BJP focuses on Modi's guarantees, Congress targets unemployment & inflation.

The high-decibel campaign by the parties for the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections in Rajasthan’s 12 constituencies came to an end on Wednesday with the Bharatiya Janata Party focusing on the guarantees of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Congress attacking the former over issues such as unemployment and inflation.

The general elections in Rajasthan’s 25 Lok Sabha constituencies will be held in two phases (HT)
The general elections in Rajasthan’s 25 Lok Sabha constituencies will be held in two phases (HT)

The general elections in Rajasthan’s 25 Lok Sabha constituencies will be held in two phases. The 12 constituencies — Ganganagar, Bikaner, Churu, Sikar, Jhunjhunu, Jaipur, Jaipur Rural, Alwar, Bharatpur, Karauli-Dholpur, Nagaur and Dausa — will cast their votes on April 19 in the first phase.

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The rest of the 13 constituencies — Tonk-Sawai Madhopur, Ajmer, Pali, Jodhpur, Barmer, Jalore, Udaipur, Banswara, Chittorgarh, Rajsamand, Bhilwara, Kota-Bundi, and Jhalawar-Baran — will take part in the second phase on April 26.

The state has around 50 million voters, of whom 27.6 million are men, 25.4 million are women, and 619 belong to third gender. Around 1.64 million fresh voters will also take part in the elections this time.

According to the data by the Election Commission, 64,608 elderly and specially-abled people have already cast their votes through home voting, which was started on April 5.

Rajasthan, which observed a significant 66.34% polling turnout in 2019, will decide the fate of 131 candidates in 12 seats on Friday.

At present, BJP has 24 MPs while the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) holds one seat in Nagaur which the party chief Hanuman Beniwal had contested in an alliance with BJP-led National Democratic Alliance. He walked out of the alliance in 2020 over the now repelled farm laws.

While the BJP is contesting the election alone from all the 25 seats in the state, the Congress has declared alliance with RLP, Communis Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)], and Bharat Adivasi Party (BAP) as part of the INDIA in three seats of Nagaur, Sikar, and Banswara-Dungarpur respectively.

During the first phase of polling, the state witnessed five visits from the Prime Minister Narendra Modi who campaigned in Churu, Dausa, Jaipur Rural, Barmer, and Ajmer — while three from his colleague and Union home minister Amit Shah in Alwar, Sikar, and Jaipur.

The party’s national president Jagat Prakash Nadda, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman along with the chief ministers of three BJP-led states Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Madhya Pradesh also visited Rajasthan frequently in the last few days.

To give a boost to the Congress campaign, the party’s senior leader Rahul Gandhi held two rallies in Anupgarh and Falodi. Ahead of the code of conduct, he also visited Dholpur and Banswara twice during the party’s Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra last March.

Meanwhile, the party’s national president Mallikarjun Kharge visited the state twice in Chittorgarh and Jaipur while the general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra visited four times in Jaipur, Jalore, Alwar, and Dausa.

The Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) chairperson Sonia Gandhi, accompanied by Kharge and Priyanka, also visited in Jaipur on April 9, a day after the party launched its manifesto in Delhi.

Pitching for a third time, the BJP manifesto, titled ‘Modi ki guarantee’, outlined a vision for India’s development journey by pledging to expand its policies for welfare, social empowerment, and national economic growth while also nurturing its ideological causes such as the implementation of a Uniform Civil Code (UCC), One Nation One Election, and the development of religious centres.

The raft of promises in the Congress manifesto included a caste census and lifting the 50% cap on quota for SCs, STs and OBCs in addition to a reservation in private educational institutions, immediate recruitment for the youth, 50% reservation for the women in central government jobs, a legal guarantee for minimum support price (MSP) for farmers’ crops, cashless insurance up to 25 lakhs for universal healthcare, compulsory and free education from Class 1 to 12 in public schools, and also a law to recognise civil union between couples belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community.

On Wednesday, during the last day of the campaign for the first phase, the candidates of all the parties were seen be visiting door-to-door in their own constituencies seeking votes. The Alwar candidate and Union minister Bhupendra Yadav, and the Churu candidate Devendra Jhajharia along with CM Bhajan Lal Sharma were also seen visiting a couple of temples to offer prayers on the occasion of Ram Navami.

“Ram is the centre of our faith. After a struggle of over two decades, our PM Modi brought him to a temple in Ayodhya putting an end to his 500-year of exile. The party (Congress) which has been taunting Lord Ram over the years will get a suitable reply this election. BJP will win in all the 25 seats again,” said Sharma while addressing a rally in Alwar in support of Yadav.

Taking a dig at the Congress, he said: “They are trying their best to save the party from another major defeat. But, the people have faith in Modi. They have seen how the Congress has been delaying the ERCP project which Modi has resolved by making us inking a pact between two states of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. People will never chose a party that played a heinous political game with drinking water.”

He appealed to the people to reach the booths in maximum numbers on the polling day. “I appeal to all the people to cast their votes on Friday. It is your responsibility to carefully choose the party for Rajasthan. BJP should win every constituency with over 500,000 votes,” he said.

Meanwhile, the senior Congress leader Sachin Pilot, while addressing a rally in Dholpur in support of Bhajan Lal Jatav, said that BJP wants to crush the democracy and the lives of the minority groups. “Why do they want to target 400 seats when the majority mark is only 272 in the Parliament? They need it to amend the Constitution, take away the fundamental rights of the people, and destroy the lives of the poor, Dalits, and other minority categories.”

Assuring a victory for the Congress this election, he said: “People will never fall in the BJP’s trap. They have seen how the new BJP government in Rajasthan failed to keep any promises rather they closed our schemes which used to benefit the poor. Congress will win with majority in the state.”

Polling in Rajasthan will be held from 7 am to 6 pm in all the 12 constituencies amid tight security arrangements, chief electoral officer Praveen Gupta said.

Gupta said that the 50% of the booths have been facilitated with a webcasting system and around 1,300 quick response teams have also been deployed for additional protection . The paramilitary check posts have also set up in over 270 inter-state areas.

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