With the Election Commission announcing the dates for the Gujarat Assembly polls, the process to elect a new government in the state has formally begun.
A month ahead of the actual polling, it is but premature to discuss the poll outcome. But it’s worth discussing issues which may impact these elections.
The Congress hopes to gain from the fact that Narendra Modi will not be the chief ministerial candidate for the BJP this time. The Grand Old Party also hopes that activists Hardik Patel and Jignesh Mewani will lend their support to the Congress. Meanwhile, OBC leader Alpesh Thakor has formally joined the Congress. But collecting faces alone does not win elections. Will this be enough to help the Congress sail through?
The Congress itself has not been able to mount a successful movement against the government. The party’s visibility on the ground is limited to Rahul Gandhi’s own campaign across the state. Other leaders are only seen around their leader.
Paper trail of votes will be used in all the 50,128 polling stations in the state to ensure transparency, Joti said. The voters will be able to see their votes cast through the Voter-Verified Paper Trail Audit (VVPAT) machines. The Commission has also set up 182 all-women polling stations, one in each assembly constituency.
The poll process will start on November 14 with the issue of the gazette notification for the first phase. Candidates can start filing their nominations from that day. The first phase will be held in 89 of the 182 seats and will cover 19 of 33 districts. The notification for the second phase will be issued on November 20 for remaining 93 assembly seats.
Assembly elections in Gujarat will be held in two phases on December 9 and 14, the Election Commission announced today, setting the stage for a high-stakes battle between the ruling BJP and the Congress. Counting will take place on December 18, Chief Election Commissioner A K Joti said at a press conference. The Model Code of Conduct comes into immediate effect, he said.
According to a report, the Gujarat government in the last one fortnight has announced projects and sops worth Rs 11,000 crore since the dates of Himachal Pradesh elections were announced.