Polling began Friday morning for 199 Assembly seats out of the 200 in Rajasthan, a key state which the BJP is fighting to retain, and for all 119 Assembly constituencies in Telangana.
In Rajasthan, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje (Jhalrapatan), Congress state president Sachin Pilot (Tonk), former chief minister Ashok Gehlot (Sardarpura) are among the 2,274 candidates in the fray.
The election in Ramgarh constituency of Alwar district was put off following the death of Bahujan Samaj Party candidate Laxman Singh.
The results will be out on December 11, along with those from the other four states which saw Assembly elections in the past few weeks.
The outcome of the elections in Rajasthan, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram is expected to set the tone for the Lok Sabha contest next year.
Raje, who is the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate, is fighting against veteran BJP leader Jaswant Singh’s son Manvendra Singh in Jhalrapatan, the constituency she has represented since 2003.
Tonk, with a sizeable Muslim population, is a keenly-watched contest between Sachin Pilot and BJP candidate and Rajasthan Transport Minister Yoonus Khan, who is the saffron party’s only Muslim face in the elections.
This is a maiden assembly election for Pilot, a two-time MP who is seen as a chief ministerial possibility if the Congress wins. He has represented Dausa and Ajmer Lok Sabha constituencies in the past.
Former chief minister Ashok Gehlot, who is also seen as a chief ministerial candidate for the Congress, is contesting from Sardarpura, a constituency he now represents.
In Telangana, polling was underway to elect a new state Assembly amid tight security.
Officials said the polling process began in all 32,815 polling stations spread across 31 districts.
Voting began late in some polling centres due to technical glitches in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
Over 2.8 crore voters, nearly half of them women, are eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the political fortunes of 1,821 candidates including Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao and his 14 cabinet colleagues.
Telangana’s Chief Electoral Officer Rajat Kumar said polling will continue till 5 p.m. except in 13 Left Wing Extremism affected constituencies, where it will end an hour early.
Over 50,000 security personnel including 18,860 drafted from neighbouring states and central forces were deployed as part of the massive security arrangements.
Over 1.50 lakh polling personnel were on duty to conduct the polling process. As many as 55,329 EVMs and 39,763 control units were arranged for the polling.
For the first time, Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) were installed across the state.
The authorities have arranged 42,751 VVPAT, which are attached to the EVMS and will display for seven seconds the choice made by the voter.
The elections are expected to be a close contest between ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), which is contesting all seats on its own, and the opposition Congress-led People’s Front.
The opposition alliance also includes Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Communist Party of India and Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS).
The BJP, which is contesting all seats on its own, is the third key force in some constituencies.
The Bahujan Left Front (BLD) led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are also contesting majority of the seats.
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) is contesting eight seats in Hyderabad.
TRS had opted for dissolution of Assembly in September, eight months before its term was to end.
(With inputs from agencies)