LS polls: Nomination process comes to end in Gujarat
The process of filing of nominations for the Lok Sabha elections came to an end in Gujarat today with BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi filing his nomination papers from Vadodara carrying out an impressive road show.
The Election Commission said a total of 279 candidates filed their nomination papers on the last day.
A total of 547 candidates have filed their nomination papers from Gujarat for the general elections.
Besides Mr Modi, prominent figures from the state included BJP veteran L K Advani (Gandhinagar), Bollywood actor and BJP leader Paresh Rawal (Ahmedabad East), Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Shankarsinh Vaghela (Sabarkantha) and Congress national general secretary Madhusudan Mistry (Vadodara).
Earlier in the morning, Mr Modi filed his nomination papers from Vadodara Lok Sabha seat amid tight security. Mr Modi, who is seeking his maiden entry in Parliament, filed his nomination papers at around 1120 hours in presence of senior party leaders and a large number of supporters before the Returning Officer Vinod Rao.
Kiran Mahida, a tea shop owner, signed the nomination papers of Mr Modi as a proposer to reinforce the Gujarat strongman's projection as 'chaiwala'.
Apart from Mahida, who has a tea shop near Vadodara Municipal Corporation office, Shubhangini Raje Gaikwad, the Rajmata of erstwhile Royal family, Neelaben Desai, widow of former BJP leader Makrand Desai and party leader Bhupendra Patel also remained present as proposers.
State BJP president R C Faldu, party's Gujarat in-charge Om Mathur, senior party leader Purushottam Rupala and Cabinet ministers Anandiben Patel, Nitin Patel and Saurabh Patel also accompanied Mr Modi.
In a display of massive strength, Mr Modi carried out an about three-km-long road show in an open jeep in Vadodara, which took about an hour, before filing his nomination papers.
Mr Modi's first road show during the on-going general election started from Kirti Stambha and concluded at the Collector's office.
Thousands of people of the city gathered at both the sides of road to support Mr Modi during his road show route Kirtistambha-Rajmahelroad-Nyay Mandir-Padmavati shopping centre-Gandhinagar gruh-Collector office.
Mr Modi had arrived at Vadodara airport around 1000 hrs to a frenzied welcome by the BJP workers and his supporters.
The authorities put in place a full-proof security cover in Vadodara.
A police official said tight security was in place for Mr Modi in view of Intelligence agencies' inputs about a possible terrorist attack on his rallies and other programmes during election campaign.
Besides Vadodara, Mr Modi is also contesting from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission is probing whether there was any violation of model code of conduct during filing of nomination papers by the Gujarat Chief Minister.
The Election Commission has asked Vadodara Returning Officer Vinod Rao to conduct an inquiry whether there were people more than the prescribed limit when Mr Modi filed his nomination before the Returning Officer.
Mr Rao said he was verifying the numbers of people who were in the room with Mr Modi as a total of five people including the candidate are allowed in the room of the Returning Officer.
If there is any dummy candidate then the limit is ten people.
Sitting BJP MP from Vadodara Balkrishna Shukla was dummy candidate.
The Election Commission has received a total of 209 complaints about the violation of the model code of conduct from the day of the issuance of notification till today.
State Chief Electoral Officer Anita Karwal said out of the 209 complaints, BJP has filed 14 complaints, Congress 39, other parties five and general public 151 complaints. She said action has been taken in case of 172 complaints. Ms Karwal said five complaints were pending with the Election
Commission of India in Delhi for guidance.
The maximum number of complaints were received from Kutch region from March 5, the date of the issuance of the notification, till today, she said.
Meanwhile, to ensure free and fair elections, the election commission has taken a series of steps in the state.
As many as 46,641 arms have been deposited before the authorities by the holders.
Around 35,865 non-bailable warrants have been issued and preventive measures have been taken against 1,19,378 persons.
The police has seized 9,10,809 bottles of foreign made Indian liquor and 1,34,725 litres of country-made liquor during this period, Ms Karwal said.
She said the Commission's flying squads and static surveillance teams have seized unaccounted cash amount of Rs 41 lakhs till today.
The amount has been handed over to the Income Tax Department for further action. Scrutiny of nominations will be done on April 10. Last date for withdrawal of candidature is April 12. Counting of votes will be held on May 16.
Gujarat will go to single phase polling on April 30 for 26 Lok Sabha seats.
(Posted on 10-04-2014)