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Rajasthan assembly polls: BJP surges ahead of Cong as counting of votes progresses

Jaipur: The BJP crossed the halfway mark in Rajasthan with its candidates leading in 114 seats while the Congress was ahead in 68, according to Election Commission trends available on Sunday for the assembly polls.

The Bharat Adivasi Party (BAP) and BSP are leading in three seats each and the CPI (M) was leading in one. The Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) were leading in one seat each.

Independent candidates are leading in eight constituencies.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Tikaram Jully, Brijendra Ola, Vishvendra Singh, Mahendra Jeet Singh Malvia are among the Congress candidates who are leading whereas parliamentary affairs minister Shanti Dhariwal and assembly speaker CP Joshi are trailing.

Congress candidate Sachin Pilot is leading on Tonk seat with a margin of 943 votes while BJP leader and former chief minister Vasundhara Raje is leading in Jhalrapatan assembly seat with 7,025 votes.

Among the BJP candidates leading were Diya Kumari from Vidgyadhar Nagar, Baba Balaknath from Tijara, Kirodi Meena from Sawai Madhopur and Mahant Pratap Puri from Pokaran

BJP rebels Yoonus Khan (Deedwana) and Ravindra Singh Bhati (Sheo) are among the 10 independent candidates who are leading in initial trends.

With the initial poll trends giving an edge to the BJP, Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat took a jibe at Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, saying people have come out of the spell of the "magician".

"The 'magic' has ended and Rajasthan has come out of the spell of the magician. People have voted for the honour of women and for the welfare of the poor," he said.

Gehlot was born into a family of magicians and assisted his father during his tours.

"People have failed the guarantees of Congress. They have voted to throw corrupt Congress out," Shekhawat told reporters here.

He asserted that the BJP will be forming the government in the state with a huge mandate.
e forming the state government with a huge mandate.

BJP candidate from Kota north Prahlad Gunjal also said that the BJP is going to form the government.

"Rajasthan has given the mandate and the picture will become clear in sometime," he said.

When asked who will be the CM, he said, "This will be decided by the party high command. We have big leaders like Vasundhara Raje and we need not bring from outside."

Gunjal is contesting against parliamentary affairs minister Shanti Dhariwal.

Polling in 199 out of 200 assembly constituencies was held on November 25.

The election in Sriganganagar's Karanpur seat was postponed due to the death of Congress candidate Gurmeet Singh Koonar.

Counting of votes polled in the November 25 assembly elections in Rajasthan got underway at 8 am amid tight security arrangements.

A total of 36 counting centres have been set up 199 of the state's 200 assembly constituencies which went to poll. Election to the Sriganganagar's Karanpur seat was postponed due to the death of Congress candidate Gurmeet Singh Koonar.

As many as 1,862 candidates are in the fray for 199 seats.

While 30 election districts have one counting centre, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Nagaur have two centres each. "All District Election Officers, Police Commissioners and Superintendents of Police have been instructed to strictly follow the security protocol at the counting centre," CEO Gupta said.

He said that three-tier security arrangements have been ensured at the counting venue and only those with authorised passes would be able to enter.

"Separate counting halls have been made for each assembly seat at the counting centre, where as per the instructions of the Commission, tables have been arranged for counting of postal ballots and EVMs," he said.

Incumbent Congress and its rival Congress conducted intense poll campaign and are both hopeful of forming a government.

While most of pollsters predicted an edge for the BJP, three exit polls in their upper limit forecast a Congress win in the desert state.

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