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Rajasthan assembly elections 2018: Caste, unemployment, farmers dominate poll battle

Rajasthan assembly elections 2018: The fiery campaign for the December 7 polls came to an end on Wednesday. The last day of campaigning in the state saw 33 events, including two public meetings by PM Modi — in Sumerpur (Pali) and Dausa.

rajasthan elections Updated: Dec 05, 2018 22:57 IST
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PM Modi addressed 13 public meetings during the two-week campaign period.

The fiery campaign for the December 7 Rajasthan assembly polls came to an end on Wednesday. The last day of campaigning in the state saw 33 events, including two public meetings by PM Modi — in Sumerpur (Pali) and Dausa.

BJP national president Amit Shah held a road show in Ajmer, while chief minister Vasundhara Raje held meetings in Kherwara and Bagidora, and a road show in Baran. She did not visit Jhalawar, her home turf. State Congress president Sachin Pilot and former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot campaigned largely in their own constituencies.

While Pilot addressed several meetings in Tonk district and one in Sawai Madhopur, Gehlot held a meeting in Pali’s Jaitaran constituency and several others in Jodhpur district. Congress general secretary in charge of Rajasthan Avinash Pande said that Pilot and Gehlot addressed more than 240 public meetings. Congress president Rahul Gandhi addressed more than 30 public meetings, the last on Tuesday.

Addressing a press conference in Jaipur on Wednesday to present a wrap of the campaign, Shah said, “A total of 222 public meetings of leaders, including central ministers and chief ministers of other states were held and 15 road shows were organised during the campaign.”

Read more: Vote share of 2013

While the PM addressed 13 public meetings during the two-week campaign period, Raje held 75 public meetings besides a Gaurav Yatra. Shah himself held 38 programmes covering all 33 districts in the state.

Caste and religion dominated the issues raised by campaigners from both parties. The PM picked on Congress leader CP Joshi’s remark that only Brahmins knew about Hinduism and were learned enough to speak about it. Modi also targeted Gandhi’s criticism of his use of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’.

On Tuesday, the Congress president said in a rally in Alwar that Modi opens his speeches with the slogan and speaks about nationalism, but alleged that he works for top industrialists.

Throughout his campaign, Modi referred to Gandhi as ‘naamdar’ (dynast) and called himself ‘kaamdar’ (one who works). Yogi Adityanath, the chief minister of BJP-led Uttar Pradesh, also spoke about the caste of Hanuman in one of his rallies.

Read more: Win map of 2014

The leaders also spoke about issues including the agrarian crisis, the Rafale deal, unemployment, and achievements of the Vasundhara Raje government and that of the central government. While the Congress has promised to waive farmers’ loans within 10 days of coming to power, the BJP manifesto promises a Rs 250-crore rural start up fund. Both parties have promised an unemployment allowance.

Pilot raised the issue of the past five years of floods, draught, farmer suicides and atrocities on Dalits and Adivasis.

The CM criss-crossed the state addressing several meetings a day, while her son Dushyant Singh looked after the campaign in her home turf of Jhalrapatan. Raje faces a challenge from former BJP leader Jaswant Singh’s son Manvendra Singh.

Rajasthan’s chief electoral officer Anand Kumar said the campaigning was peaceful with sporadic incidents of statements by leaders that invited police cases.

As many as 2,274 candidates including 189 women are in the fray for 199 out of the 200 assembly constituencies in the state. The election in Alwar district’s Ramgarh constituency has been postponed due to the death of BSP candidate Laxman Singh.

For full coverage on Rajasthan assembly elections, click here

First Published: Dec 05, 2018 22:55 IST