States brace for verdict
The state polls are considered the semifinals ahead of the Lok Sabha elections next year. In Mizoram, counting will take place on 9 December. This polling season witnessed good voter turnout with voting ranging from over 65 per cent in Delhi to over 81 per cent in Mizoram. Rajasthan recorded over 74 per cent, while Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh over 70 per cent.
With Narendra Modi spearheading the BJP campaign after his nomination as the party’s prime ministerial candidate, his party’s performance will be watched keenly in the current round of elections. On the other hand, the Congress’s performance could make or break Rahul Gandhi’s future as the party’s mascot ahead of the big fight in May 2014.
The electoral contest was bipolar between BJP and Congress in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, while in Delhi it was a triangular contest with new entrant, Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party, making it difficult for the two traditional parties.
Exit polls after the elections in these states had predicted a near rout for Congress and a good showing for BJP, which is likely to retain power in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and wrest power in Rajasthan. Sheila Dikshit, seeking a record fourth term as Delhi chief minister, appears to be facing the toughest battle in the national capital with the emergence of AAP upsetting the calculations of both the Congress and the BJP. However, Harsh Vardhan, BJP’s CM candidate, is expected to make a big splash.There are 810 candidates in fray in Delhi for 70 seats. While Congress and AAP are contesting all the seats, BJP is in the fray in 66 seats. It has given four seats to ally SAD. Shivraj Singh Chouhan is involved in a tough battle with Congress in his bid for a hat-trick, pitted as he is against a young union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia for the CM’s post in Madhya Pradesh.For the 230 seats at stake, BJP has fielded its candidates in all the seats while Congress is fighting in one less. A total of 2,583 candidates are in fray.
Rajasthan witnesses a keen fight between Congress led by chief minister Ashok Gehlot and BJP’s Vasundhara Raje with both the parties facing each other in all the 200 constituencies. As many as 2,087 candidates are in the fray in the desert state.