17 December, New Delhi
Both the ruling BJP and the Opposition Congress are waiting with bated breath for tomorrow’s results of the Gujarat Assembly elections which are crucial both for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and newly installed Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
Results of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly will also be announced tomorrow.
Gujarat is the Prime Minister’s home state where he ruled over a decade. Mr Gandhi too has much in stake in the state elections as they were held after his taking over command of the party was almost decided.
If the Congress wins, it will be a sort of people’s endorsement of Mr Gandhi’s leadership of the party, and it will be great set back for the BJP and for the prime Minister individually ahead of the 2109 Lok Sabha elections.
The Congress has this time aligned itself with some young challengers, like Hardik Patel, of Prime Minister Modi’s Gujarat model of development.
On the other hand in Himchal Pradesh, it is the BJP which is questioning the Congress claims for development, and is pretty hopeful anti-incumbency factor to go in its favour.
Not only for both the parties, or the state or the nation, the outcome of the Assembly elections, especially of Gujarat, has attracted worldwide interest.
Both Mr Modi and Mr Gandhi and other star leaders of their party have campaigned extensively in the state, as the shape of their future politics will be determined by the outcome of these elections.
The election for the 182-member Assembly were held in two phases on December 9 and December 14.
In the first phase of elections, the polling was conducted on 89 seats in the areas falling under Saurashtra and South Gujarat. The voting saw around 67 per cent turnout.
In the second phase, voter turnout of 68.7 per cent was recorded in remaining 93 constituencies in North as well as Central Gujarat.
The turnout in 2012 was registered at 71.3 per cent. Almost all the exit polls have predicted that the BJP which has governed the state for 22 years in a row will again return to power. A party needs to win 92 seats to form government in Gujarat.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission has made all arrangements for the counting of votes that will begin at 0800 hrs tomorrow morning, and trends were expected to be clear by 1100 hrs.
Counting will be held at 37 places in Gujarat and 42 places in Himachal. A large number of security personnel have been deployed in these areas and are closely guarding the strong room that have seald EVMs and VVPAT machines.