Electoral official hopes for record high voter turnout in poll-bound Gujarat
The general secretary of the Election Commission of India (ECI), Akshay Raut, has said that officials have launched a civic education campaign to motivate all sections of society, including women and youth, to exercise their franchise during next month's state assembly elections in Gujarat, and he hopes that there will be a record voter turnout as a result.
Raut said Gujarat has always been known for its best voter turnout hoping that the state would maintain its historic record.
"The election commission is working on three things, one is information, motivation and the last is facilitation. In last 11th election, we have consistently got highest turnout in elections and in six election, we have got historic record and we also hoping to have a historic record this time also in Gujarat because some postal ballots are yet to come here, so the election commission in Gujarat is working over the best voter turnout and if we all work together I am confident that Gujarat will be the highest in the league of voter turnout," said Raut at a news conference in Ahmedabad.
The first phase of the Gujarat assembly polls will take place on December 13, while the second will be held on December 17. Counting of votes will take place on December 20.
Meanwhile, Gujarat Congress leader Indranil Rajyaguru has criticised Chief Minister Narendra Modi for not doing enough on the development front.
"People of Gujarat know that the incumbent government is talking about development but have done anything in last 10 years. This time, the people of Gujarat is looking for change in the government and I am sure this is will happen. Narendra Modi in his last 10 years of tenure has not done anything for the benefits of the people. He doesn't perform what he says and has many false promises to the people. In 2002, when Modi was fighting for elections, he promised us that that there will be no water problem in Rajkot but people of the city are facing acute water shortage," said Rajyaguru in Rajkot.
Rajyaguru also appealed to the people to support him.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Sangita Patil, who is contesting the polls from the Limbya constituency in Surat District, however, praised Modi.
"Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have given me ticket. Modi Ji had organised a rally in order to attract youth in politics and this time, Modi has given tickets to youth and eleven candidates have got the ticket out of which I am one of them. I am very thankful to Modi for giving me the opportunity," said Patil.
Seeking votes ahead of state polls, various political parties are making efforts to lure the electorate with tall promises by orating on various issues like price-rise, corruption and law and order among others.
The rift between BJP and Congress has always been in the limelight, this time targeting Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh to fetch votes in order to elect a new government.
Modi is seen as the strongest candidate of BJP during general elections in two years, thanks to rapid growth and a perception of corruption-free governance in his state, which has 5 percent of India's population but contributes 16 percent to national industrial output.
Under the high-profile but controversial Modi, Gujarat stands apart in a country that doesn't always make it easy for manufacturers.
Earlier, Modi had embarked on series of three-day fasts to promote 'harmony', which was seen as a way of helping revamp the image of a leader accused by critics of complicity in communal riots that killed at least 1,000 people in 2002.