Worried over sluggish polling in the first phase, the ruling BJP, Congress, and AAP have appealed to the people to vote in large numbers in Monday’s second and final crucial phase of elections for 93 seats in 14 districts across north and central Gujarat.
The BJP appeared to be concerned the most given that the turnout in the first phase comprising 89 seats in Saurashtra, Kutch and South Gujarat regions on December 1 was a dull affair with lower voting in urban areas compared to the rural parts as compared to the 2017 elections. The turnout of 63.31% in the December 1 round was as much as 5% lower than in 2017.
The ruling party realises it must do the best in this last phase since many of these seats are in its urban stronghold and it is empirically known that a good turnout in the cities and semi-urban areas helps the BJP the most, irrespective of whether it is in power.
Modi will cast his vote in Ahmedabad
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will cast his vote at a school in Ahmedabad’s Ranip area, while Home Minister Amit Shah will vote at Naranpura and Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel will cast his vote at Shilaj in Ahmedabad.
As many as 833 candidates, including Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel from Ghatlodia seat in Ahmedabad, are in the fray. The Congress has pitted Rajya Sabha member Amee Yajnik against Patel who is seeking his second term.
With 21 seats, including 16 in the city, Ahmedabad district has the highest number of constituencies among the eight districts in Central Gujarat. The BJP won 40 and Congress 19 among the 61 seats in 2017 elections, with two Independent winners. North Gujarat has six districts with 32 seats, where the Congress cornered 21 seats, including an Independent candidate, Jignesh Mevani, backed by the party, while the BJP managed 11 seats, in the previous elections.
In all, the BJP bagged 51 out of the 93 constituencies going to the polls on Monday, while Congress got 40 (including Mevani) and there were two Independent winners in 2017.
Other leaders whose fate would be sealed in the EVMs include BJP’s former minister and cooperative leader Shankar Chaudhary from Tharad, Congress’ Jignesh Mevani from Vadgam seat, BJP’s Alpesh Thakor from Gandhinagar (South), Hardik Patel from Viramgam, and CK Raulji from Godhra seat. The leader of Opposition in the State Assembly, Sukhram Rathva, is fighting it out from Jetpur Pavi seat in Chhota Udepur district.
In all, 2.52 crore voters are registered for the second phase, including 1.3 crore male and 1.22 crore female electors. They will be able to vote at 14,975 polling stations having 26,409 polling booths.
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