Gujarat Assembly Elections: Crucial Gujarat Election Begins Today, Polling On 89 Seats: 10 Points

Date:

The counting of votes is scheduled for December 8. (File)

New Delhi:
89 seats will vote in the first phase of assembly polls in Gujarat today, in which the BJP is hoping for a seventh consecutive term. Its big challenger is the Aam Aadmi Party, which has managed to push aside the Congress in terms of visibility.

  1. The 89 seats are spread across 19 districts of Kutch and Saurashtra region and the southern part of the state.

  2. For the BJP, which has been ruling the state since 1995, the real challenge is arresting the slide in numbers. The party’s score has been shrinking since the 2002- dropping from 137 to 99 in the 2018 election.

  3. Setting the party a target of 140 of the state’s 182 seats, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has been directly controlling the operations.

  4. The BJP has conducted a high voltage campaign, carpet-bombing the state with high-profile leaders. 

  5. The other leader who spent the better part of the last month in state is AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal. Buoyed by the massive victory in Punjab early this year, the Delhi Chief Minister has made Gujarat the party’s next target.

  6. Mr Kejriwal has predicted that AAP – which failed to open account in the 2018 elections in Gujarat — will win 92 seats, 8 of them in Surat alone. The AAP chief, who is banking on the party’s governance model in Delhi with its focus on education and health, has written off the Congress, saying it is “nowhere”.

  7. Amit Shah has dismissed the AAP challenge, saying, “AAP is nowhere in the mind of the people of Gujarat. Wait for election results, maybe AAP’s name would not figure in the list of successful candidates”.

  8. The Congress, which won 77 seats in 2018, has said it will ask the Election Commission that the ballot boxes be kept under the supervision of central forces and not home guards or state police. It also claimed the Tripura Rifles, called in to man polling booths, have been asked to stay 1.5 km away.

  9. The Congress campaign in Gujarat has been low key. Rahul Gandhi, who spearheaded the campaign last time, is currently leading the Bharat Jodo Yatra. The 3,750 km route of the foot march has steered clear of the poll-bound state and Mr Gandhi spared only a day to campaign in Gujarat.

  10. The second phase of polling will be held on December 5. The counting of votes is scheduled for December 8.

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