Rajasthan has a vibrant political history with maharajas, kings and emperors bowing to the wishes of the people. It was the site of the oldest Indus Valley Civilization. A part of the state came under the rule of the Mauryan Empire. After the fall of the empire, a number of Rajput clans established their sway over various parts of the land.
In the beginning of the 13th century, Ranthambore and Ajmer came under Mughal control. The Mughal emperor Akbar was successful in politically uniting the whole ofRajasthan. After the decline of the Mughal Empire in 1707 AD, parts of Rajasthan were captured by the Maratha confederacy.
The emerging British Empire concluded treaties of alliance with the different Rajput clans in 1817-18. Thus, Rajasthan which was now called Rajputana came under British rule. When India achieved its independence in 1947, Rajputana was a loose heterogeneous grouping of different political entities.
It consisted of 19 princely states, 2 chieftainships of Lava and Kushalgarh, a British administered province of Ajmer-Merwara and some areas outside its boundaries. The integration process of what we presently know as Rajasthan was done in seven stages, from March 1948 to November 1956.
Today, Rajasthan consists of 33 districts. The first elected Chief Minister of Rajasthan was Heera Lal Shastri of the Indian National Congress. The first Governor of Rajasthan was Gurmukh Nihal Singh.
In the general elections 2014, BJP won all the 25 seats in the state. It was a massive landslide victory for the ruling party which defeated its opponent Indian National Congress (INC). Rajasthan is the largest state of India in terms of land area.
The Chief Minister is Vasundhara Raje Scindia. She belongs to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The INC had won the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, but the in the 2013 Assembly polls, BJP emerged victorious.
Results of the 2013 Assembly elections were declared on 8 December. The then Congress government led by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot was defeated at the hustings. The Congress regime faced a strong anti-incumbency wave owing to the corruption and criminal charges against the Congress ministers of the state as well as at the Centre.
Out of the 200 Assembly constituencies which went to polls on 1 December 2013, the BJP bagged 163 seats, while the Congress managed to win a mere 21 seats. Other political parties got a total of 16 seats. In comparison, in 2008 the Congress had won 96 assembly seats whereas the BJP had won only 78 seats.
Vasundhara Raje, BJP's CM candidate in Rajasthan, won in the Jhalrapatanconstituency from where she contested. After BJP's thumping win in 2013 assembly polls, Vasundhara Raje Scindia became the Chief Minister of Rajasthan for a second time.
BJP's success was also attributed to the then BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's charisma and popularity in Rajasthan.
Rajasthan has a unicameral legislature. The Vidhan Sabha or the legislative Assembly is situated in the capital city of Jaipur. It was first formed in March 1952. There are a total of 200 Assembly constituencies in Rajasthan which are represented by 200 MLAs.
Out of the 200 seats, 143 are general seats, 33 seats are reserved for the Scheduled Caste category and 24 for the Scheduled Tribes category. There are a number of seats reserved for women.
The term of the legislative Assembly is five years, if it is not dissolved sooner. Periodic elections are held to elect members of the Vidhan Sabha. There are three sessions of the Rajasthan legislature - budget, winter and monsoon.
The Governor is the titular head of the state and is appointed by the President of India. The Chief Minister is the executive head of the government. The present Speaker of Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha is Kailash Meghwal.
The current legislative Assembly which is the 14th edition of the Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha, was elected in 2013.
In every major election, there is an intense battle between the two dominant political parties in Rajasthan -- the Indian National Congress (INC) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).