Gujarat election phase-2 begins: PM Modi casts vote in Ahmedabad
The second and final phase of the Gujarat state Assembly elections began for 93 of 182 constituencies in 14 districts across north and central Gujarat on Monday morning at 8 am. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also cast his vote in Ahmedabad and echoed the Election Commission of India's (ECI) request to people to come out in large numbers to vote.
Why does this story matter?
- The polling for the first phase of the elections conducted on Thursday reflected urban apathy in view of the state recording a little over 60% voter turnout, which was 8% less than the previous election in 2017.
- The Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) aim to shake the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has ruled the state for 27 years.
2.51 crore voters to decide the fate of 833 candidates
Around 2.51 crore voters will exercise their franchise with 833 candidates fighting in the second phase compared to 788 candidates in the first phase. As many as 36,000 Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are being used in 26,409 polling booths, while the ECI has deployed 84,000 polling officers and 29,000 presiding officers to ensure the elections are conducted smoothly.
What are some crucial seats?
Incumbent Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel is bidding to win from Ghatlodia constituency in Ahmedabad. Other crucial seats include Viramgam, where BJP's Patidar face Hardik Patel is contesting, and Gandhinagar South, where BJP has fielded former Congress MLA Alpesh Thakor. Jignesh Mevani of Congress is fighting from Vadgam in Banaskantha district, a Scheduled Caste-reserved seat where he is the sitting MLA.
BJP strong in central Gujarat, Congress in north
The campaigning came to a close on Saturday evening. Of the 61 seats in eight districts of central Gujarat, BJP won 40 in the last election, Congress bagged 19, while two went to independent candidates. North Gujarat has 32 seats spanning six districts. Of these, BJP won 11 seats while Congress clinched 20 and a Congress-backed independent contestant won from Vadgam.
AIMIM enters fray in Ahmedabad, BJP bastion since 1990
Ahmedabad in central Gujarat has the maximum number of 21 constituencies, of which the BJP has dominated all 16 urban seats since 1990. In 2017, Congress improved its share to four from two in 2012. All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) has entered the fray in Muslim-dominated Jamalpur Khadia, fielding former Congress MLA Sabir Kabliwala—who fought an independent in 2012 resulting in BJP's win.
BJP, AAP fighting on all 93 seats, Congress on 90
Home Minister Amit Shah will also cast his vote today. The BJP and AAP are fighting on all 93 seats while the Congress is contesting on 90 seats and its ally, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), on two seats.
Assaulted by BJP candidate, claims Congress sitting MLA
Sitting Congress MLA Kanti Kharadi from Danta seat in Banaskantha district, a Scheduled Tribe-reserved constituency, claimed that BJP candidate Ladhu Parghi and his associates attacked him with swords while he was campaigning. Earlier, cricketer Ravindra Jadeja's sister and Congress campaigner Naynaba attacked the former's wife, Rivaba, the BJP candidate from North Jamnagar, for using children "to gain sympathy" and filed a complaint against her.