Highest-ever polling recorded

Highest-ever polling recorded

Battle for Gujarat: Final phase seals fate of 820 candidates

Highest-ever polling recorded

When Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi arrived at a polling booth in Ahmedabad to cast his vote, it was almost like a victory procession. And even before the curtains came down on the second and final phase of polling, Modi seemed to be sure of the outcome, claiming a “sweep” of the polls. At the end of the day, Gujarat had recorded the highest-ever polling. 

After a 70.7 per cent voter turnout in the first phase, the second phase registered an equally high 70 per cent polling. On December 20, it will be known whether it was anti-incumbency or Modi charisma that resulted in the record turnout. While the huge turnout has kept everyone guessing about the political future of the state, the chief minister himself exuded confidence about returning to power with more numbers on Thursday, when the counting of the votes takes place.

After casting his vote Modi said: ``I want to congratulate the people of the state for a huge and peaceful polling. These were historic elections, the burden of it being taken over by the people of the state.’’

He went on to say that this was an election where youth and women turned up in large numbers and the fight was on the plank of development.

Rubbishing Modi’s claim, Congress leader Deepak Babaria said  the voting, particularly by women and youth, is “in our favour” and it is a clear anti-incumbency vote. With counting of the votes just a few days away, the big question now is: will Modi score yet another impressive victory which could put him onto the national centre stage or will anti-incumbency play its part.

Modi cast his vote at Ranip amid tight security and claimed that his party’s victory will be as grand as the voter turnout. Clad in a saffron Kurta, Modi then went on to the BJP office in the Khanpur area of Ahmedabad where he met BJP patriarch L K Advani, who, too, had reached there after casting his vote in the Shahpur area of the city. Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley voted in the S G Highway area of Ahmedabad.

Modi’s lieutenant Anandi Patel contested from the Ghatlodia constituency in Ahmedabad. Congress heavyweight and former Gujarat chief minister Shankarsingh Vaghela contested from the Kapadvanj seat in Central Gujarat. Jagruti Pandya, wife of slain BJP leader Haren Pandya, contested on a Gujarat Parivartan Party ticket from the Ellis Bridge constituency in Ahmedabad.

In all, 820 candidates were in the fray, including 49 women. The BJP fielded 95 candidates, the Congress contested 92 and Gujarat Parivartan Party and the Bahujan Samajwadi Party fielded 84 candidates each.

Violence, firing in Panchmahals

Incidents of violence was reported from the Shehra constituency in Panchmahals District where Bharatiya Janata Party candidate and muscleman Jetha Bharwad allegedly opened fire after being attacked by Congress workers following an altercation in Tarshan village, DHNS reports from Ahmebabad.

Bharwad was later taken into custody. According to police, the bodyguard of Bharwad who had opened fire that left four people injured. Bharwad had earlier kicked up a political storm after he was caught watching porn in the Assembly.