93 constituencies to vote on Thursday in final phase of Gujarat Assembly polls

93 constituencies to vote on Thursday in final phase of Gujarat Assembly polls

NetIndian News Network

Ahmedabad, December 13, 2017

Polling will be held in 93 constituencies tomorrow in the second and final phase of the elections to the 182-member Gujarat Legislative Assembly that is being seen as a crucial test of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity and the policies and programmes of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre and in the state.
Campaigning in these 93 constituencies, spread over Central and North Gujarat, including the key urban centres of Ahmedabad and Vadodara, had ended yesterday evening, bringing the curtains down on more than three months of often bitter electioneering in the elections, whose results are certain to have a huge bearing on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The elections are also the first major challenge for Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, who is all set to take over as the new president of the party in the next few days.
The first phase of polling in 89 constituencies was held on December 9. Counting of votes will be taken up on December 18, along with the votes cast in Himachal Pradesh, where Assembly elections were held on November 9. All results are expected to be out by that evening.
Mr. Modi and Congress President-elect Rahul Gandhi led a galaxy of leaders from their respective parties in the often-bitter campaign, addressing scores of meetings.
While the BJP, which has ruled the state for 22 years, made every effort to retain power, the Congress, which has been in the political wilderness in the state for more than two decades, made a determined bid to win this time, with Mr. Gandhi leading from the front.
The Congress was buoyed in its efforts by the support received from three popular youth leaders -- Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel, Dalit leader Jignesh Mewani and OBC leader Alpesh Thakore. While Mr. Thakore formally joined the party during the campaign and is contesting the election, Mr. Mewani is also in the fray as an independent candidate.
While the BJP has repeatedly said it would win at least 150 seats, a confident Mr. Gandhi asserted at a press conference in Ahmedabad yesterday that his party would score a big victory. 
Polling will begin at 8 am tomorrow and end at 5 pm. The Election Commission of India (ECI) and the state authorities have made elaborate arrangements to ensure a free and fair poll.
The 93 constituencies have a total electorate of 2.22 crore, including 1.15 crore men and 1.07 crore women.
By area, Dariapur (6 sq km) is the smallest constituency, while Radhanpur (2,544 sq km) is the largest. By size of electorate, Limkheda with 1.87 lakh voters is the smallest constituency, while Ghatlodia with 3.52 lakh voters is the largest.
As many as 37.37 lakh of the voters in the 93 constituencies are in the 18-25 years age group, 80.91 lakh in the 26-40 years age group, 74.15 lakh in the 41-60 years age group and 30.51 lakh in the above 60 years age group.
The Election Commission has set up 22,558 polling stations in the 93 constituencies and deployed 28,114 electronic voting machines (EVMs).
There are a total of 851 candidates, including 69 women, in the fray for the 93 seats. Mehsana has the largest number of candidates at 34, while Jhalod (ST) will witness a straight contest between two candidates.
The ruling BJP has fielded candidates in all 93 constituencies while the Congress has put up its nominees for 91 seats, leaving the remaining for its allies.
Among other parties, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is contesting 75 seats, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) 28, the Shiv Sena 17, the Janata Dal (United) 14, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) 8, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) 3 and the Communist Party of India 1. There are also 350 independent candidates in the contest.