Campaigning ends in Gujarat, polling on April 30
The campaigning for 26 Lok Sabha constituencies and 7 state assembly seats in Gujarat ended this evening with both the BJP and the Congress leaders making a last-ditched effort to reach out to the voters as the BJP-ruled state is all set to go for the single-phase polling on April 30.
This is perhaps for the first time in the electoral history of the state that incumbent Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the Leader of Opposition Shankersinh Vaghela, 20 sitting MPs and 13 sitting MLAs of both the Congress and the BJP are in fray. Though the campaigning started at a dull note after the filing of nominations early this month, but it picked up in the last few days of the campaigning with Mr Modi kicking off BJP campaign on April 23. The week-long high-pitched campaigning saw the whirlwind tours of Mr Modi, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. However, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was under attack from the opposition throughout the campaigning across the country, was conspicuous by his abscence from the canvassing in Gujarat. For the BJP, besides Mr Modi, senior party leaders L K Advani,Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Nitin Gadkari campaign in the state. Mr Advani, who is contesting from state capital Gandhinagar,held a number of road shows in his parliamentary constituency.
From the Congress side, the charge of the campaigning was only with Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. However, the Union ministers Anand Sharma and Kapil Sibal chipped in by adddressing news conferences where they attacked Mr Modi over various issues.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convenor Arvind Kejriwal, who was on a fact finding tour of four days of Gujarat last month, also skipped the campaigning for his party candidates.
The campaigning also saw the war of words between the BJP and the Congress leaders who attacked each other on the issues ranging from price rise to unemployment to corruption.
Mr Modi in his rallies made an emotional appeal to the people of Gujarat to send more lotuses so that a strong and stable government led by a Gujarati leader can be formed at the Centre.
On her part, Ms Gandhi lashed out at the BJP and Mr Modi saying that party leaders were allegedly behaving as such that if the BJP was voted to power 'they will bring down heaven on the earth' but they were hiding fact that their model state of development Gujarat was reeling under a debt of Rs 1.75 lakh crore.
A total of 4.06 crore voters will use their franchise on April30. Out of total voters there were 2,12,10,291 male voters, 1,93,68,001 female voters and 285 others.
Gujarat has a total of 8,143 centenarian voters with maximum 1,239 voters in Surat and the lowest five in Dangs districts. There were 11,67,994 new voters in the state.
According to the Election Commission, electoral photo indentity cards have been provided to 100 per cent voters.
There will be 45,380 polling booths in the state out, of which 10,725 were 'critical'. As many as 43 Assembly segments have been indentified as 'expenditure sensitive'.
There are total 334 candidates in fray. The highest number of 25 candidates are in Jamnagar, while the lowest four candidates in Chhota Udepur.
As many as 78 candidates are in fray for seven assembly constituencies where a bypoll will be held.
BJP prime ministerial candidate Modi and Congress national general secretary Madhusudan Mistry are contesting from Vadodara.
(Posted on 28-04-2014)