Jaipur, March 30:
With withdrawal of 46 nomination papers, 239 candidates are now finally in the fray for 20 of the 25 Lok Sabha seats in Rajasthan where the first phase of polling will take place April 17, officials said Sunday.
The second phase of polling for the remaining five seats will be held April 24.
A senior official of the Election Commission told IANS that Saturday was the last day for withdrawal of nominations.
“A total 46 candidates withdrew their nominations,” the officer added.
A maximum numbers of 17 candidates are contesting from Sri Ganganagar constituency and a minimum six are fighting for the Jhalawar-Baran seat.
The main contest is between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which are fighting in all the constituencies.
The Aam Aadmi Party, contesting for the first time in the state, has fielded 18 candidates. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) too is contesting in a few constituencies across the state.
Congress state president Sachin Pilot exuded confidence that the party would maintain its previous Lok Sabha poll tally.
“I am confident the Congress will be able to win in at least 20 constituencies as it did in the 2009 poll,” Pilot said.
State BJP president Ashok Parnami claims that the party will emerge victorious in the poll this time because of misrule and corruption of the UPA government at the centre.
“We are working on a strategy to win on all 25 seats and we are confident of achieving this,” he said.
“The Congress and the BJP are the major political parties and the fight is mainly between them. However, the AAP, that has fielded some candidates, and rebels from both the Congress and the BJP may hurt both the major parties in at least three-four constituencies,” said R.K. Goswami, a political observer.
The BJP is facing problems in Barmer and Sikar where senior leader Jaswant Singh and Jat leader Subhash Maharia are fighting as Independents.
The BJP has expelled both these leaders from the party.