Jaipur: The BJP appeared set Sunday to wrest Rajasthan from the Congress with counting trends in the afternoon showing the party leading on 112 seats, way past the Congress which was ahead in 72 constituencies.
If the initial trends released by the Election Commission hold, the party is comfortably past the halfway mark of 100. Polling was held for 199 of the 200 seats in the state assembly on November 25.
Celebrations broke out at the BJP's state headquarter as the party crossed the majority-mark, in terms of trends.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, ministers Pratap Singh Khachariyawas, Tikaram Jully, Shakuntala Rawat, 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. Gehlot is leading with 18,999 votes against BJP's Mahendra Rathore, shows the EC website. Meanwhile, BJP leader Vasundhara Raje is leading in Rajasthan's Jhalrapatan assembly seat with 51,484 votes against her Congress rival Ramlal Chouhan.
When the vote counting entered 15th round, Congress candidate Sachin Pilot is leading on Tonk seat with a margin of 20,024 votes, according to EC website.
2 BJP candidates win polls
Bharatiya Janata Party candidates Govind Prasad and Samaram won the Manohar Thana and Pindwara Abu constituencies respectively, the Election Commission of India announced on Sunday. According to the Election Commission's website, Prasad won the Manohar Thana seat by a margin of 24,865 votes. The BJP leader secured a total of 85,304 votes. Meanwhile, Samaram won the Pindwara Abu seat by a margin of 13,094 votes after securing a total of 70,647 votes.
BAP candidate wins Chorasi seat
Bharat Adivasi Party (BAP) candidate Rajkumar Roat won the Chorasi assembly constituency and the party was also leading in another, the EC announced.
The BSP and Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLTP) were leading in two seats each while independent candidates were ahead in nine constituencies.
Congress suffers a jolt
Rajasthan Assembly Speaker C P Joshi was trailing behind his BJP rival Vishvaraj Singh Mewar in Rajsamand district's Nathdwara seat by 5,294 votes. Joshi has got 56.521 as against Mewar's 61,815 , the Election Commission (EC) website showed at 1.20 pm.
In North Kota constituency, state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shanti Dhariwal was lagging behind BJP candidate Prahlad Gunjal by 3,490 votes. Dhariwal has got 8,558 votes so far while Gunjal has got 12,048, it showed. Congress candidates took an early lead in some other constituencies.
In Jhotwara constituency, the Congress' Abhishek Choudhary is in the lead with 22,360 votes as against BJP candidate Rajyavardhan Rathore's 16,072, according to EC data.
Congress candidate Prashant Sharma is leading against his BJP rival Satish Poonia with 2,684 votes in Amber seat. Sharma has received 16,100 votes and Poonia has got 13,416, EC data showed.
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.
BJP rebels Yoonus Khan (Deedwana), Chandrabhan Singh Aakya (Chittorgarh), Ravindra Singh Bhati (Sheo) are among the nine independent candidates who are leading in initial trends.
Magic ended: Union minister Gajendra Singh
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.
Counting in 36 centres
A total of 36 counting centres have been set up in 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.
Rajasthan Chief Electoral Officer Praveen Gupta said that proper arrangements have been ensured at the counting centres two centres each in Jaipur, Jodhpur and Nagaur and at one centre each in the remaining 30 districts where votes are being counted. A total of 2,524 tables were installed at the counting centres to count the votes received in the EVMs at 51,890 polling centres. Vote counting will be completed in 4,245 rounds.
In the Sheo assembly constituency, 41 rounds of counting will be carried out, while the counting of votes for Ajmer South will be completed in 14 rounds.
Tight security arrangements have been made at the counting sites and its surrounding areas, Gupta said, adding that a three-tier security arrangement has been set up for anyone entering the counting venue to prevent any disturbance.
A total of 40 companies of central police forces are deployed for the security of EVMs and 36 companies of Rajasthan Armed Constabulary (RAC) are deployed at the counting centres. Ninety-nine companies of RAC are deployed in various districts to maintain law and order.
Over 4.36 lakh voters have used postal ballots in the elections, out of which 49,365 are those above 80 years of age, 11,656 are persons with disabilities, 4, 427 are from essential services and 3.71 lakh are those who are engaged in conducting the voting process.
(With PTI inputs)