Verdict sealed for Gujarat electoral battle as voting ends in Phase 2


Polling for the second and final phase of assembly elections in Gujarat ended on Monday, with over 61% of voters exercising their franchise at 93 constituencies in north and central Gujarat, according to Election Commission’s (EC) provisional data.

Among prominent voters were Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his mother Heeraben, Union home minister Amit Shah and his family, Uttar Pradesh governor Anandiben Patel and Delhi lieutenant governor V K Saxena and his family.

On Monday, the fate of 833 candidates were sealed in the electronic voting machines across 14 districts. Polling for 89 seats took place on December 1. Votes for the 182-member state legislative assembly will be counted on December 8, along with Himachal Pradesh, which went to the polls on November 12.

In this year’s election, the voting percentage in Gujarat was 8 percentage points lower than in 2017, when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 99 seats, its lowest tally in more than two decades. The Congress won 77, its best since 1995.

The voting percentage was lower in urban areas like Sabarmati (49.16%), Asarwa (45.40%) and Dariapur (47.14%) in Ahmedabad, compared to Chhota Udepur (56.67%), Jetpur (64.10%), Devgadh Baria (60.48%) and Deodar (74.02%) in rural and tribal areas.

In the second phase, the prominent candidates in fray are chief minister Bhupendra Patel from Ghatlodia, Hardik Patel from Viramgam, Aplesh Thakor from Gandhinagar South, Jignesh Mevani from Vadgam, Shankar Chaudhary from Tharad, Sagar Rabari from Becharaji and Mukesh Patel from Mehsana. Sabarkantha and Banaskantha districts saw the highest turnout, 70.90% and 65.65%, respectively, as per approximate numbers on the official Turnout App.

In 2017, the BJP had won 51 seats and Congress 39 in the second phase of 93 seats. In the first phase elections in 2017, Congress won 38 and BJP 48. The remaining seats were shared by Bharatiya Tribal Party, which won two, the Nationalist Congress Party one and three by independents.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party is contesting the Gujarat elections in a big way for the first time.

Barring a few untoward incidents, the polling was peaceful.

“Apart from two or three incidents, the polling overall in the second phase was carried out peacefully,” said P Bharati, chief electoral officer for Gujarat.

Gujarat Congress president Jagdish Thakor claimed his party will win 125 or more seats, and that they will fulfil all the poll promises they made.

AAP’ chief ministerial candidate Isudan Gadhvi told reporters that AAP will form the next government in Gujarat. “I expect AAP to win 51+ of 89 seats in first phase and 52+ in second,” he said after casting his vote in Ahmedabad. “We are confident that BJP will break all previous records in Gujarat,” state BJP chief C R Paatil said.

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