Counting of votes for Gujarat polls begins

Counting of votes started this morning for the high-stakes Gujarat Assembly polls, considered a prestige battle for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his home state and a litmus test for new Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

While the BJP is seeking a sixth straight term in office, the Congress is aiming to stage a comeback in power after being in the opposition for over two decades.

The counting of votes will be held at 37 centres across the state's 33 districts, amidst tight security.

For the 182 seats up for grabs, a total of 1,828 candidates contested the elections which were held in two phases on December 9 and 14.

The voting was held following an acrimonious campaign where both the main political parties indulged in no-holds- barred attacks on each others.

The main contestants from the BJP are Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani (Rajkot West), Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel (Mehsana) and state BJP unit president Jitu Vaghani (Bhavnagar West).

The main contenders from the Congress are Shaktisinh Gohil (Mandvi), Arjun Modhvadia (Porbandar), Siddharth Patel (Dabhoi), and Paresh Dhanai (Amreli).

OBC leader Alpesh Thakor, who joined the Congress ahead of polls is fighting from Radhanpur seat, while Dalit leader Jignesh Mewani is contesting from Vadgam.

An average 68.41 per cent polling was recorded in the polls.

The total voter turnout this time saw a dip of 2.91 per cent, as compared to the 2012 polls when 71.32 per cent polling was registered.

In the 2012 polls, the BJP had won 115 seats and the Congress 61 seats, while others and independents had bagged six seats.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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