Telangana and Rajasthan voted in the high-stakes assembly elections
New Delhi: Rajasthan and Telangana voted on Friday in the last of state elections before the December 11 results, seen as a big test for political parties as they gear up for next year's national polls. For the BJP, the big battle is in Rajasthan, where it hopes to buck the two-decade trend of the incumbent losing power. In Telangana, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao is facing the Congress and N Chandrababu Naidu - political rivals who have come together for the first time. An aggregate of exit polls predicted a Congress victory in Rajasthan and a second term for Mr Rao in Telangana.
Here are the top 10 updates on Telangana and Rajasthan elections:
A turnout of 72.62 per cent was recorded in Rajasthan. In Telangana, the figure was 67 per cent, the Election Commission announced. These are provisional figures which are likely to go slightly higher. The overall turnout in Rajasthan last time was 75.5 per cent, in Telangana it was 69.5 per cent. There were reports of voting machine malfunctioning in parts of Rajasthan.
Rajasthan is set to follow its tradition of throwing out the incumbent government according to the poll of exit polls. An aggregate of exit polls gives the BJP 78 of 199 seats that went to polls in Rajasthan and the Congress, 112. Any party has to win 100 to form government in the state.
In Telangana, India's youngest state, exit polls show Telangana Rashtra Samithi chief K Chandrashekar Rao's gamble of dissolving the state assembly eight months before schedule paying off. The TRS will get 67 of the state's 119 assembly seats, where the majority mark is at 61. The Congress-Chandrababu Naidu combine will get 39 seats and the BJP five seats, an aggregate of 11 exit polls have predicted.
Rajasthan has swung between the BJP and the Congress in the five elections since 1993. But the Congress, which won only 21 assembly seats in 2013 against the BJP's 161, would need an 8 per cent swing in its favour to win the election.
The Congress claims there is huge anti-incumbency. In the last round of by-elections in February, the party wrested the Ajmer and Alwar Lok Sabha seats and the Mandalgarh assembly seat from the BJP.
Vasundhara Raje has been challenged by Manvendra Singh, son of senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh, in Jhalrapatan, the constituency she has represented since 2003. Manvendra Singh switched to the Congress just before the elections.
Tonk, with a sizeable Muslim population, is a keenly-watched contest between Sachin Pilot of the Congress and transport minister Yoonus Khan, the BJP's only Muslim face in the elections. Mr Pilot, who is contesting his maiden assembly election, is seen as a frontrunner for the top job if the Congress wins.
The Congress is yet to announce a chief ministerial candidate in Rajasthan. Besides election in-charge Sachin Pilot, former chief minister Ashok Gehlot is also seen as front-runner for the top job. "We will sit and discuss this after our party gets a majority in the election," Mr Pilot told reporters after voting in Jaipur.
A victory for the Congress-TDP alliance will place Mr Naidu - who has taken on the job of facilitating an opposition alliance ahead of national elections - at the forefront of the opposition politics. Mr Naidu is contesting only 13 seats and said in case of a victory, the top job will go to the Congress, which is contesting the rest. The Congress has not announced a chief ministerial candidate.
The counting of votes in Telangana and Rajasthan will take place on December 11, along with that of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram.