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Posted on Dec 20, 01:38PM | IBNS
Living up to all expectations, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi is all set to rule the western state for the third consecutive term as counting of votes in the state of Thursday showed a clear lead in favour of the charismatic leader who is eyeing to emerge as his party BJP's prime ministerial candidate in 2014 general elections.
The Bharatiya Janata Party is leading in 100 seats and have won 17 seats already of the total 182 assembly seats that went to polls on Dec 13 and 17.
Narendra Modi himself won from the Maninagar seat beating his Congress challenger Shwetha Bhatt, wife of the anti-Modi IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt.
Amit Shah, a Modi confidant and former state home minister who was under scrutiny in a fake encounter killing case and is under judicial bail, also won the polls from Naranpura.
Congress on the other hand is leading in 55 seats and won 8 till results were showing at 1130 am.
Gujarat witnessed two phased polls on Dec 13 and 17.
In the second phase polls on Dec 17 in Gujarat, nearly 70 percent voters exercised their franchise.
In the first phase the turnout was 71 percent on Dec 13.
Modi had campaigned aggressively for the elections, seeking the approval of voters once again while Congress poster boy Rahul Gandhi and party chief Sonia Gandhi had also carried out extensive campaigning.
The third consecutive victory of Modi is crucial for the Gujarat strongman who has pitched himself as the prime ministerial candidate of the BJP for the 2014 general elections.
Counting of votes of the assembly elections held in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh in Nov-Dec began early Thursday.
While the BJP is predictably leading and is all set to return to power in the western state, Congress is making gains in the Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh.
In the 68-seat Himachal Pradesh, the Congress is leading while the ruling BJP is behind.
Cong is leading in 34 seats and have bagged four already at 1130 am. Congress thus makes a gain of 15 seats as per the leads.
The BJP is leading in 21 seats and have won three seats, trailing in 17 seats in comparison to its performance last time as per the trends.
Polling was held on Nov 4 in Himachal Pradesh with a nearly 75 percent turnout. Congress leader Virbhadra Singh is a big favourite to win for the party the polls even as BJP chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal earlier had asserted that he will come back for the second term.