Gujarat polls: Voting on December 1,5; counting on December 8
The Election Commission of India (ECI) announced on Thursday that Gujarat will go to polls in two phases on December 1 and 5. The counting will be held on December 8, along with Himachal Pradesh. Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said that a total of 182 Assembly constituencies of Gujarat will go to the polls, wherein nearly 4.9 crore voters will exercise their franchise.
Why does this story matter?
- Gujarat will witness a triangular contest between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and Congress.
- AAP head honcho and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been aggressively campaigning in Gujarat, eyeing a significant vote share.
- The recent Morbi bridge collapse which claimed the lives of 134 people could impede the BJP's bid, although the ruling party is expected to push through.
Full schedule of Gujarat polls
CM Bhupendra Patel most favored choice
Incumbent CM Bhupendra Patel emerged as the most favored choice in opinion polls. In the 2017 Gujarat Assembly elections, the Congress won 99 seats. After a series of defections, however, the grand old party was left with 62 members in the state Assembly. On the other hand, BJP had won 99 seats but it presently has 111 MLAs following turncoats joining the fold.
Gujarat, Himachal Assembly tenure ends 40 days apart
Earlier, ECI had only declared dates of Himachal Pradesh although generally, poll schedules for Gujarat and Himachal are announced together as the tenure of both state Assemblies ends 40 days apart.
Model Code of Conduct comes into force
The Model Code of Conduct has come into force immediately after the announcement of the election dates. 1,274 poll booths dedicated to and managed exclusively by women will be set up. All booths will be on the ground floor and have ramps for Persons with Disabilities (PwD). The postal ballot facility will be extended for voters aged over 80 years.
Security, other measures at polling booths
All critical/vulnerable polling stations will be identified and an adequate number of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) personnel will be deployed. The borders of the poll-bound states will be sealed to restrict movement. Half of the booths should have webcasting of voting. Some districts have done 100% earlier. Polling stations shall be equipped with sanitizers, masks, and other medical equipment to handle health emergencies.