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Amidst Rajasthan polls date change, 15 vital seats to watch out for in the state

The Election Commission of India on Wednesday changed the poll dates of Rajasthan Assembly elections from November 23 to November 25 due to “large scale weddings”. “The change in the date of the poll was made following representations from various political parties, and social organisations and also issues raised in various media platforms considering large-scale […]

The Election Commission of India on Wednesday changed the poll dates of Rajasthan Assembly elections from November 23 to November 25 due to “large scale weddings”.

“The change in the date of the poll was made following representations from various political parties, and social organisations and also issues raised in various media platforms considering large-scale wedding/social engagement on that day which may cause inconvenience to a large number of people, various logistic issues and may lead to reduced voters participation during the poll,” Election Commission said.

The EC said, “The Commission, having considered these factors and representations, has decided to change the date of the poll from November 23, 2023 (Thursday) to November 25, 2023 (Saturday).”

The counting of votes will take place on 3 December. The polling body in its notification said, “The Election Commission of India had announced the schedule for General Election to the Legislative Assembly of Rajasthan dated 9th October, 2023 along with other States wherein the date of poll for Rajasthan was fixed on 23 November, 2023 (Thursday).

Subsequently, representations have been received in the Commission from various political parties, social organisations and also issues raised in various media platforms for change of date of poll considering large scale wedding / social engagement on that day which may cause inconvenience to large number of people, various logistic issues and may lead to reduced voters participation during poll.”

“The Commission, having considered these factors and representations, has decided to change the date of poll from 23rd November, 2023 (Thursday) to 25th November, 2023 (Saturday),” the polling body said.

The Election Commission on Monday announced the schedule for Assembly polls in Mizoram, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Telangana.
Earlier, the Election Commission said that the Assembly polls in Rajasthan will be held on November 23. The counting of votes will take place as scheduled on December 3, along with the same for four other state assembly polls.

To watch out for: Of 200 seats, these are 15 crucial seats

1. Sardarpura:
The Congress bastion in Jodhpur district has been sending Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot to the Assembly without a break since 1999, when he won a bypoll there. In the last election, he polled 63% of the vote.
2. Jhalrapatan: The BJP stronghold in Jhalawar district has been represented by former chief minister Vasundhara Raje since 2003. Raje defeated former Union minister Jaswant Singh›s son Manvendra Singh Jasol in the last election by about 35,000 votes, a relatively close contest.
3. Tonk: Congress leader Sachin Pilot, who has been challenging Ashok Gehlot›s leadership in the state, won the seat in 2018. The constituency has a high proportion of Gurjar, Scheduled Caste and Muslim voters.
4. Laxmangarh: The BJP has won the seat only once in 2003. Rajasthan Congress president Govind Singh Dotasra, has represented the seat the seat since 2008.
5. Jhunjhunu: Jat leader Sis Ram Ola represented the constituency thrice, and his son Brijendra Ola has been winning it since 2008. Rajasthan›s first Assembly Speaker Narottam Lal (Congress) was from here. Another former Speaker, Sumitra Singh, won here six times, four of them as a Congress candidate.
6. Churu: Leader of the Opposition in Rajasthan Assembly Rajendra Rathore has represented this BJP stronghold six times since 1990. Congress leader Dotasra claims the mood in the constituency has changed, and dared him to contest again from here.
7. Udaipurwati: Rajendra Gudha, recently sacked from the Ashok Gehlot ministry, won this seat in 2008 and 2018 on a BSP ticket but switched to the Congress both times. Gudha, who claims to have a red diary detailing corruption by Gehlot, is now with Eknath Shinde›s Shiv Sena.
8. Kota North: Since 1993, this seat has been won alternately by the BJP and the Congress. Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla won in 2003. Rajasthan minister and current MLA Shanti Dhariwal has been nursing the constituency and wants his son to be given the Congress ticket here this time.
9. Anta: Rajasthan Mines Minister Pramod Jain Bhaya represents this constituency. But if renominated by the Congress, he could face a tough time from party colleague Bharat Singh Kundanpur, who has been constantly sniping at home over alleged corruption.
10. Udaipur: Gulab Chand Kataria vacated the seat he won six times on his elevation as Assam governor earlier this year. There is speculation that the BJP may now field a member of the erstwhile Mewar royal family here.
11. Khajuwala: There is a buzz that this constituency could see a contest between Dalit leader and Rajasthan minister Govind Ram Meghwal and Union minister Arjun Ram Meghwal.
12. Pokaran: Elections are often fought on religious lines here. Muslim religious leader Gazi Fakir›s son Saleh Mohammad defeated Hindu seer and BJP candidate Pratap Puri in 2018. The two could face off again.
13. Bikaner West: Education Minister BD Kalla represents the seat, but Lokesh Sharma, the CM›s Officer on Special Duty, has been making frequent visits and could be vying for the party ticket.
14. Khinvsar: Rashtriya Loktantrik Party chief and MP Hanuman Beniwal could contest this seat located in Jat heartland Nagaur. Bitter rival and former Nagaur MP Jyoti Mirdha, who switched to the BJP from the Congress, may be fielded against him.
15. Osian: First-time Congress MLA and Sachin Pilot-supporter Divya Maderna represents this seat. But RLP›s Beniwal has held several rallies here, and his party could pose a challenge to her.

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