Bitter campaigning for Gujarat ends, voting on Thursday
Campaigning for the second and final phase of Gujarat Assembly elections on Thursday ended on Tuesday evening after one of the most vicious round of attacks, with the stakes high both for the ruling BJP and an aggressive Congress.
After the first round of voting on December 9 for 89 seats, the remaining 93 constituencies spread across 24 districts of northern and central Gujarat will see balloting to pick a new state Assembly.
A total of 851 candidates are in the fray, with the BJP determined to continue its 22-year-long rule and the Congress equally confident of coming to power. Over two crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise.
From Tuesday evening, political parties confined themselves to door-to-door campaigning.
The districts which will see polling on Thursday include Banaskantha, Patan, Sabarkantha, Mehsana, Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, Aravalli, Mahisagar, Panchmahal, Dahod, Kheda, Anand, Vadodara and Chhota Udepur.
The maximum number of 33 candidates are in Mehsana seat. This includes Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel. There are only two candidates in Jhalod.
Gujarat's financial capital Ahmedabad accounts for 16 seats, out of which the BJP holds 14. The Congress is hoping to change this scenario.
On the last day of campaigning on Tuesday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said his party was confident of dislodging the BJP. Prime Minister Narendra Modi flew by a seaplane from the Sabarmati riverfront to Dharoi dam, sparking a row.
Thursday's polling will begin at 8 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. There are a total of 25,319 polling booths and 2,22,96,867 voters are registered on the electoral rolls.
Of the 851 candidates, the BJP has fielded 93, the Congress 91, the NCP 28 and the Bahujan Samaj Party 75. The AAP has put up eight candidates. There are also some 350 independents. - IANS