Campaigning for crucial Rajasthan election ends; voting tomorrow | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Campaigning for crucial Rajasthan election ends; voting tomorrow

By, Jaipur
Nov 24, 2023 06:28 AM IST

The campaign for upcoming polls in Rajasthan closed on Thursday with BJP criticising the state’s law & order situation & Cong focussing on its welfare outreach.

A high-decibel campaign for the upcoming assembly elections in Rajasthan closed on Thursday with the BJP criticising the state’s law and order situation and the Congress focussing on its welfare outreach.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi being felicitated during a rally in Rajsamand on Thursday. (ANI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi being felicitated during a rally in Rajsamand on Thursday. (ANI)

All 200 seats in the desert state will go to the polls on November 25 and the votes will be counted on December 3. The BJP is hoping to dislodge the Congress in a state that usually votes out the incumbent.

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Chief electoral officer Praveen Gupta said 52.5 million voters – 27.3 million men and 25.2 million women – are eligible to vote. A total of 51,033 voters are above 80 while another 11,894 are disabled.

During the campaign, the ruling Congress focused on the welfare schemes of the Ashok Gehlot government, its seven guarantees – including an annual honorarium of 10,000 per annum for women heads of families and subsidised gas cylinders for just 500 for over 10 million households – and accused the BJP of trying to “mislead” the people.

The BJP campaign – led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi – alleged that crime and corruption were rising in Rajasthan, and blamed the state government for question paper leaks in 15 examinations during the last five years. BJP leaders also raised the issue of Udaipur tailor Kanhiaya Lal’s murder in 2022, terming it as an example of the appeasement politics of the Congress.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Modi continued to attack the Congress over senior leader Sachin Pilot, saying the party “discarded him like a fly from milk”, and assured the people that welfare schemes started by Gehlot will not be stopped.

READ | Rajasthan elections: Bit players may hold sway as Jat politics takes stage

“A son of the Gujjar community toils to make his place in politics… he works hard for the party but after coming to power, he is removed like a fly from milk at the behest of the royal family. They did this with late Rajesh Pilot and are doing it with his son too,” Modi said at his last election rally in the state at Rajsamand district. He said words such as gaddar (traitor), nikamma (useless) and nakara (worthless) were used for Rajesh Pilot’s son.

Gehlot hit back, saying the BJP was trying to provoke the Gujjar community, pointing out that 72 Gujjars were killed in police firing in 2007 during quota protests when the BJP was in power. “When I became CM, they got 5% reservation peacefully,” he said.

Gujjars form around 5% of the state’s population. In the last elections, the Congress won 30 of the 34 Gujjar-dominated seats in eastern Rajasthan.

Rajesh Pilot, who died in a road accident in 2000, was once considered critical of then newly elected Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. To be sure, Sachin Pilot has held several important posts in the party and government whenever Congress has been in power – Union minister, state chief, and Rajasthan’s deputy chief minister – since his father’s death. However, as deputy chief minister in 2020, he rebelled against Gehlot before the party negotiated a truce.

Modi had made the remarks on Congress’s treatment towards Sachin Pilot on Wednesday as well. Hitting back, Sachin Pilot said there was no need for anyone other than the party and the people to worry about him.

“As far as I am concerned, I feel that no one needs to worry about my present and future. My party and people will worry about that and will take good care of me,” he told PTI on Wednesday.

During his rally at Rajsamand, the PM assured the people that if the BJP came to power, the government will not stop any public welfare scheme because the people and their development is the party’s first priority. “All good work done in Rajasthan will be carried forward, I assure you… Where people lose faith in the Congress. Modi’s guarantees start from there,” he said.

READ | On ‘red diary’, Mahadev app case, Ashok Gehlot alleges BJP's ‘conspiracy’ to win assembly elections

The PM also alleged that photos of Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge were missing from party posters in Rajasthan.

Apart from PM, Union home minister, Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and several central ministers were prominent campaigners for the BJP. The PM also held road shows in Bikaner and Jaipur.

The Congress campaign was led by Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi. Other leaders who campaigned included Kharge, Gehlot, Sachin Pilot and Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel.

On the last day of the campaign, Shah and Gehlot addressed separate press conferences in Jaipur.

Shah expressed confidence about a victory in Rajasthan, saying there was a mood for change and the people had made up their mind to throw out the Congress. He also said that Gehlot’s magic will not work this time as the people have decided to make the Congress government disappear on December 3 due to crimes against women and unemployment.

Gehlot accused the BJP of false propaganda and said the party was misusing central agencies for political reasons. “They do not have any issue or campaign line and only make provocative statements. They are not debating on schemes or policies of the state government but only provoking speeches. They do not have the right to provoke,” he said.

Unveiling 'Elections 2024: The Big Picture', a fresh segment in HT's talk show 'The Interview with Kumkum Chadha', where leaders across the political spectrum discuss the upcoming general elections. Watch Now!

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