Gujarat votes: Polling begins on 89 seats in phase 1
The first phase of polling for the state Assembly elections kicked off in Gujarat on Thursday morning. The campaigning came to a close on Tuesday evening with all political parties making extensive efforts to woo voters. As many as 89 Assembly seats out of the total 182 constituencies are going to polls, where voters will decide the fate of 788 candidates.
Why does this story matter?
- A total of 89 candidates from each of the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress are in the fray along with 88 candidates from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
- The BJP has been in power in Gujarat for the last 27 years.
- The state could witness an interesting three-cornered battle with the AAP aggressively campaigning in hopes of repeating the Punjab election scenario.
Polling underway in 19 districts
The voting began at 8 am and will continue till 5:30 pm. The 89 Assembly constituencies, where polling is underway, encompass 19 districts in south Gujarat including the Kutch-Saurashtra regions. As many as 339 independent candidates are also in the fray. Of the 788 candidates, there are 70 women, of which the BJP has fielded nine, Congress six, and the AAP five.
Which other parties are in the battle?
Apart from the three parties, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has fielded 57 candidates, the Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) 14, Samajwadi Party (SP) 12, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) four, and the Communist Party of India (CPI) two. The second phase of the election will be held on Monday. Of the total 4.9 crore voters, 2.39 crore will vote in the first phase.
Heavyweights battling fate in 1st phase
AAP's chief ministerial candidate Isudhan Gadhvi is contesting from Khambalia in Devbhumi Dwarka district, while the party's state president, Gopal Italia is fighting from Katargam in Surat. Kantilal Amrutiya—who saved lives in the Morbi bridge tragedy—is fighting from Morbi, and former Gujarat minister Parshottam Solanki, six-time MLA Kunwarji Bavaliya are also in the race along with cricketer Ravindra Jadeja's wife Rivaba.