Gujarat polls: Tough test for Modi; counting starts Thursday

A lady votes in Ahmedabad. PTI photo

Ahmedabad, (PTI): Counting of votes for the 2012 Gujarat assembly elections, which witnessed a historic 71.32 percent voter turnout, will be held Thursday 20 December for all the 182 constituencies across the state.

Polling was held in two phases on December 13 and 17, and the counting will begin at 8 am at 33 places in the state where 44,579 Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) have been kept in strong rooms under heavy security.

Chief Minister Narendra Modi is seeking a third straight term in office and pollsters have predicted a landslide for BJP.

A big win will viably consolidate Modi’s position in the saffron party.

The assembly elections were virtually a three-way fight with rebel BJP leader Keshubhai Patel, a former Chief Minister, launching his political outfit Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) months ahead of the polls and main Opposition Congress running a sustained and aggressive campaign against Modi. Congress had lost power in the key western state in 1990.

Apart from the three main contenders, 33 other parties are also trying their luck at the hustings.

Electoral fate of 1,666 candidates including Modi, his cabinet colleagues, Congress stalwarts like party’s state president Arjun Modhwadia, Leader of Opposition Shaktisinh Gohil and former Chief Minister Shankarsinh Vaghela would be decided.

Election Commission sources said postal ballots would be taken up during the first half-hour of counting followed by 2,71,58,626 votes cast in the two phases of polling.

“Within 3-4 hours, trends will be available for all 182 constituencies and hopefully by 4 pm all results will be declared,” sources said.


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