93 Gujarat constituencies go to polls today

2.2 cr in Gujarat to cast vote in 2nd phase of Assembly polls on Thursday

93 Gujarat constituencies go to polls today
As Gujarat fell silent on Wednesday hours after shrill campaigning for Assembly elections ended on Tuesday evening, 2.22 crore voters prepared to cast their ballot on Thursday. Electorate from across 14 districts of Central and North Gujarat would select 93 legislators from amongst 851 candidates in the second phase of the Assembly elections in the state.

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his key opponent Congress president designate Rahul Gandhi were in Delhi, BJP national president Amit Shah chose to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva at the famous Somnath temple. While the leaders appeared to be giving their sore throats a rest, their followers were active on social media, trying to make last-ditch efforts to attract voters.

Of the 2.22 crore voters, 1.14 crore are below the age of 40 years and 1.08 crore above 40.

The key leaders who would cast their vote on Thursday include Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, parliamentarian and senior BJP leader L K Advani, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and former chief minister Anandiben Patel.

In the first phase, 66.75% of the 2.12 crore voters cast their votes to elect 89 legislators from amongst 977 candidates on December 9.

While the BJP has fielded 93 candidates, Congress has 91, Shankarsinh Vaghela-led All India Hindustan Party has fielded 46, Sharad Pawar's NCP has 28 and Shiv Sena has 17 candidates in the fray.

Among the key candidates from the ruling BJP whose future is at stake are deputy chief minister Nitin Patel, who is seeking re-election from Mehsana that has a maximum of 34 candidates; former minister in the Keshubhai Patel government Jaynarayan Vyas from Sidhpur, Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama from Dholka in Ahmedabad district, former Amul chairman and turncoat politican Ramsinh Parmar from his traditional Thasra constituency in Anand district; Minister of State for Home Pradipsinh Jadeja from Vatva in Ahmedabad city, Health Minister Shankar Chaudhari from Vav in Sabarkantha district, former home minister Rajnikant Patel from Bechraji.

In the Congress, leader of Opposition and tribal leader Mohansinh Rathwa is contesting from Chhota Udepur and senior Congress leader Siddharth Patel from Dabhoi in Vadodara district.

Two young guns who emerged out of a recent spate of agitations witnessed in Gujarat - OBC leader Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Mevani - too are making their electoral debut and hoping to make it to the 182-seat Gujarat Assembly.

While Alpesh is fighting from Radhanpur in Patan district as a Congress candidate, Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani is making his electoral debut from Vadgam in Banaskantha district as an independent candidate supported by the Congress. Patel quota stir leader Hardik's advocate B M Mangukia is fighting from Thakkar Bapa Nagar in Ahmedabad city.

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