Saturday, Dec 16, 2017 | Last Update : 03:03 AM IST

First leg of Gujarat campaign ends

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Dec 8, 2017, 3:24 am IST
Updated : Dec 8, 2017, 3:26 am IST

Opinion polls show the BJP winning Gujarat again but by a smaller margin than last time.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is felicitated at a rally in Surendranagar, Gujarat. (Photo: PTI)
 Prime Minister Narendra Modi is felicitated at a rally in Surendranagar, Gujarat. (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: The high-octane campaign for the first phase of polling in Gujarat Assembly elections ended on Thursday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing a rally in key constituency of Surat and BJP President Amit Shah touring Saurashtra.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s rallies for Thursday were cancelled due to the cyclone Ockhi.

Opinion polls show the BJP winning Gujarat again but by a smaller margin than last time.

Voting would be held on December 9 in 89 of the state’s 182 constituencies. The rest will vote on December 14. Politically-crucial Saurashtra and South Gujarat would be going to polls on Saturday. Some of the key districts going to polls in first phase are Rajkot, Junagadh, Amreli, Morbi, Kutch and Surendranagar.

Polling would be held in 24,689 polling stations and a total of 977 candidates, including 57 women are in fray from 50 political parties as well as independents.

The Prime Minister has so far addressed about 14 rallies and Mr Gandhi has spent more than seven days in Saurashtra and south Gujarat.

The campaigning has somewhat been marred by the cyclone Ockhi due to which some public meetings had to be cancelled on Thursday.

Out of the 58 seats in Saurashtra and Kutch, the BJP won 35 in 2012 Assembly polls and the Congress 20.

The polls to this state which has been a BJP bastion would be crucial and it has seen the coming of age of Mr Gandhi as a politician who would soon be elevated to the position of the Congress President. Mr Modi on the other hand is the son of the soil and the BJP is working hard to protect his image for the sake of “Gujarati Asmita”.

The BJP has been projecting the work of its government at the centre to battle anti-incumbency in the state. The Congress on the other hand has stitched together a social coalition with leaders like Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakore and Jignesh Mevani and it remains to be seen whether it can deliver.

The second phase of polling would be held on December 14 and counting would be held on December 18.

Tags: gujarat assembly elections, narendra modi, rahul gandhi