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News updated at 10:59 PM IST

BJP confident as Gujarat vote count begins

Ahmedabad, Dec 20, 2012 (IANS) 8:59 IST
Paramilitary soldiers keep watch outside a strong room where voting equipment are being kept in a hall, where the counting of votes will be held following the recent Gujarat state assembly polls, in Ahmedabad on December 19, 2012. The results of the Gujarat Assembly polls which were held in two phases on December 13 and 17 are expected to be announced on December 20. AFP PHOTO / Sam PANTHAKY
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was Thursday confident of retaining power in Gujarat as officials started counting the millions of votes cast in the two-phase elections.

"We will win at least two-thirds of the (182) seats," Amit Shah, a confidant of Chief Minister Narendra Modi, told TimesNow channel. Others in the party echoed the view.

And in a clear indication that this assessment may not be off the mark, the Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) of former BJP chief minister Keshubhai Patel said the Congress should have allied with it.

GPP leader Gordhan Zadaphia said a GPP-Congress alliance could have ousted Modi, who has ruled Gujarat since 2001 and who tweeted Thursday in the run up to the vote count: "No need to look behind."

The BJP won 117 seats in 2007. Exit polls have predicted a massive win for the BJP in Gujarat.

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