Voting is going to be held in 19 districts of Saurashtra-Kutch and southern parts of the state today (Thursday) for the first phase of Gujarat assembly elections. Voting will be held on a total of 89 seats. Polling will be held at 14,382 polling stations from 8 am to 5 pm and the fate of 788 candidates will be sealed in EVMs. Of the 89 seats going to polls in the first phase, the BJP had won 48 in the 2017 elections. The Congress had won 40 seats, while one seat was held by an independent candidate. There is a BJP government in the state for 27 years. The campaigning for the first phase of elections ended at 5 pm on Tuesday.
In the first phase, apart from BJP, Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), 36 other political parties have fielded candidates. These include the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Samajwadi Party (SP), the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and the Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP). BJP and Congress are contesting on all 89 seats. While AAP candidates are in the fray for 88 seats. AAP’s candidate from Surat East seat had withdrawn his candidature. Among other parties, BSP has fielded 57 candidates, BTP 14 and CPI(M) four.
In the first phase, 339 independents are also in the fray. Out of a total of 788 candidates, 70 are women, including 9 from BJP, 6 from Congress and 5 from AAP. There are 17 candidates in two ballot units in Morbi. Surat’s Limbayat has 3 ballot units with 44 candidates. People working in industries and companies have been given one day paid holiday for voting.
The reputation of these veterans was at stake in the first phase
AAP’s chief ministerial candidate Isudan Gadhvi is contesting from Khambhalia seat in Dwarka district of Saurashtra region. AAP state president Gopal Italia is in the fray from Katargam in Surat. Other prominent candidates include Rivaba Jadeja, wife of cricketer Ravindra Jadeja, from Jamnagar (North), Home Minister Harsh Shanghvi, Purnesh Modi from other Surat seats and five-time MLA Purushottam Solanki from Bhavnagar (Rural). Gujarat AAP general secretary Manoj Sorathia is the candidate from Karanj, Patidar Samaj leader Alpesh Kathiriya from Varachha Road in Surat. In Saurashtra region, the prestige of sitting Congress MLAs like Lalit Kagthara, Lalit Vasoya, Rutwik Makwana and Mohammad Javed Peerzada is at stake. Seven-time MLA and veteran tribal leader Chhotu Vasava is contesting from Jhagadia in Bharuch.
Challenge of repeating itself in front of Congress in Saurashtra and Kutch
Congress has maximum focus on 54 seats in Saurashtra and Kutch region. The party wants to improve its performance here. In these areas, the Congress had won 16 seats in the 2012 elections, and in 2017 it captured 30 seats. On the other hand, BJP was reduced to 23 seats in 2017. Whereas in the 2012 elections, it got 35 seats. In South Gujarat, the Congress had won 6 seats in the 2012 elections. Whereas in 2017, it was surprised by winning 10 seats. BJP was shocked. Here in 2012 elections, BJP won 28 seats and in 2017 elections, it won 25 seats. South Gujarat also includes Surat city with 12 seats, which has been a BJP bastion for a long time. BJP has got a challenge from AAP this time. Kejriwal’s party has fielded some of its senior leaders from Surat. AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal has claimed that he is winning seven-eight seats in Surat.
Know the preparations of the Election Commission…
There are a total of 4,91,35,400 voters in Gujarat. In which 2,39,76,670 voters will vote in the first phase. The first phase includes 5.74 lakh voters in the age group of 18-19 years and 4,945 voters above the age of 99 years. Polling will be held at a total of 14,382 polling stations, of which 3,311 are in urban and 11,071 in rural areas. The Election Commission has set up 89 ‘model polling stations’, many of these booths will be operated by a team of differently-abled employees. 89 eco friendly booths and 611 will be run by women. 18 polling stations will also be run by the youth. A total of 34,324 ballot units will be used in the first phase of elections. There will be the same number of control units. 38,749 Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines will be used. A total of 2,20,288 trained officers and staff will be on duty to conduct the election process. In the first phase, 27,978 presiding officers and 78,985 polling officers will be on duty.
Know which leaders did road shows and public meetings
In the election campaign, BJP, Congress and AAP leaders did roadshows and addressed public meetings. Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself took command of the election campaign on behalf of the ruling party BJP. Apart from this, including Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP President JP Nadda, Yogi Adityanath (Uttar Pradesh, CM), Himanta Biswa Sarma (Assam, CM), Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh, CM), Pramod Sawant (Goa, CM) Chief ministers of BJP-ruled states and many central ministers, veteran leaders campaigned.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann were most active for AAP and addressed roadshows and public meetings. Apart from them, Delhi’s Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, AAP’s Rajya Sabha member Raghav Chadha, Sanjay Singh also campaigned.
Apart from Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, party’s national president Mallikarjun Kharge, local leaders also campaigned for the Congress. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took time off from the Bharat Jodo Yatra to hold two rallies in the state this month.
- Voting – 8 am to 5 pm
- Total districts in polling- 19 (Kutch, Saurashtra and South Gujarat)
- Total seats on voting- 89
- Total Candidates – 788
- Total Male Candidates – 718
- Total Female Candidates- 70
- Total political parties – 39
- Total voters – 2,39,76,670
- Total male voters – 1,24,33,362
- Total women voters – 1,15,42,811
- Total Transgender – 497
- Number of first-time voters aged 18 to 19 – 5,74,560
- Number of voters above 99 years of age – 4,945
- NRI Voters – Total 163
- Male 125 and Female 38
- Total polling stations – 25,430
- City- 9014
- Rural – 16416
- Special Polling Station – 89 Model Polling Station
- Polling Station operated by Divyang – 89
- Eco friendly polling station – 89
- Women operated polling stations – 611
- Youth operated polling stations – 18
- VVPAT – 38,749
- Presiding Officer – 27,978
- Polling Staff – 78,985
- EVM-VVPAT – Ballot Unit – 34,324, Control Unit – 34,324
Election in two phases in Gujarat
Assembly elections are being held in two phases on 182 seats in Gujarat. In the first phase, voting is being held on 89 seats on December 1. While in the second phase, voting will be held on 93 seats on December 5. The results of Gujarat elections will come on December 8 along with Himachal Pradesh. This time 4.9 crore voters will cast their votes at 51782 polling stations. This time 3,24,422 new voters have been added in Gujarat.