The BJP in Gujarat has managed to maintain an upper hand on all eight seats in the bypolls as counting is underway. The saffron party tightened its grip over Limbdi and Dang in Gujarat as the vote margin against Congress candidates has widened with each round of counting. Congress put up a feeble fight in Morbi constituency with lead in few rounds. However, the BJP zoomed past the grand old party, with turncoats on its side, to lead on all eight seats. The BJP already looks ahead for a comfortable win in Limbdi and Gadhada. The BJP now has an upper hand on all eight constituencies of Dang, Karjan, Limbdi, Gadhada, Abdasa, Dhari, Morbi and Kaprada. In the earlier rounds of counting bypolls to eight crucial Assembly seats, Congress had taken lead in Karjan and Morbi.
The counting is being conducted with Covid-19 protocols, like thermal scanning, face masks and social distancing, in place. Medical teams have also been deployed at all counting centres. What remains to be seen is that if the former Congress MLAs who switched sides and joined the BJP will be able to retain their seats or not.
As the counting is in process at counting centres set up across the eight constituencies, here are the highlights of the bypolls from Gujarat:
-The by-elections to these eight seats were, in fact, necessitated after the sitting Congress MLAs resigned ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls held in June this year. Five of them later joined the BJP and the ruling party fielded them from the same seats in the bypolls.
-A total of 60.75 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the bypolls held in Abdasa (Kutch), Limbdi (Surendranagar), Morbi (Morbi district), Dhari (Amreli), Gadhada (Botad), Karjan (Vadodara), Dang (Dang district) and Kaprada (Valsad) Assembly seats on November 3.
-As many as 81 candidates contested are in fray for the bypolls across the eight seats. Out of the total candidates in fray, 18 per cent have declared criminal cases against themselves, according to a report by poll rights group Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR). The report, which also gives details of the financial background of candidates, said a total of 20 or 25 per cent of them have declared financial assets worth crores of rupees.
-The exit polls on Saturday predicted an advantage for the ruling BJP in the Gujarat bypolls. The India Today Axis-exit poll suggests that in Gujarat, the BJP will bag six to seven seats with a 49% vote share while the Congress is expected to win zero to one seats with a 40% vote share. Other parties are not expected to open their account after bagging a vote share of 11%.
-Days before polling took place for the bypolls in Gujarat, the Congress had released a video of an alleged sting operation claiming that the BJP had offered money to its MLAs to resigning from their assembly seats. But the BJP had rubbished the claims.