Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), face a tough challenge to stay in power in the Indian state of Rajasthan as the votes pull in on Friday’s election.
The Rajasthan state is home to 47 million people, and it is one of the few Indian states where local royal families have stayed in power longer than India’s British Rule.
The vote in the state is one of five upcoming state elections before Prime Minister Modi runs for a second term in the 2019 national polls. Results of the vote will be published on December 11 as well as from the ballots which have already cast their votes in the Indian states of Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram.
The most important vote will be in the central state of Pradesh where 73 million residents live. Polls have suggested that the BJP might suffer under a considerable loss after having been in power for around 15 years.
The state elections are a test run for the 2019 elections in which Prime Minister Modi is going to face his component, Rahul Gandhi, from the Congress party. Mr Ghandi has been seen as the best alternative compared to PM Modi, and his popularity has consequently increased from 14 to 32 per cent in a 2016 poll.
Vasundhara Raje, daughter of a former Maharaja who married a previous Indian ruler dynasty, has won the 2013 Rajasthan elections in a landslide. However, her popularity has declined due to her apparent autocratic character and her inability to represent peoples’ perspectives. She has also been criticised for how she handles caste protests, unemployment, and low investment.
Her main component in this election is Manvendra Singh, another royal from a family in western Rajasthan.