Home»Gujarat Election 2012»From The Ground»Gujarat Polls LIVE: Will Rahul Gandhigiri Shadow Modi 'rajneeti? Voting Begins For Phase-II Gujarat Elections

Gujarat Polls: Will Rahul's 'gandhigiri' shadow Modi's 'rajneeti'?

Agencies  
Ahmedabad: Voting has ended for the Gujarat assembly elections 2012 on Monday with millions casting their ballot at 23, 318 polling booths at KutchBSE 4.96 %, north and central Gujarat in the second and final phase of the elections.
 
Elections in the second phase were held in 95 of the 182 constituencies.
 
8am: Long queues at polling booths across the state. Seems it would be more than the first phase.
 
8.15am: Jagruti Pandya. widow of former minister of state for Home Haren Pandya, casts vote after visiting a temple. Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) of Keshubhai Patel has fielded Jagruti from Ellisbridge seat in Ahmedabad.
 
8.10am: Congress veteran and former Chief Minister Shankarsinh Vaghela exercises his franchise after paying obeisance at a temple. "The record turnout in phase-I shows the wave is in Congress favour. Anti-incumbency haunts BJP and will doom the party. The Congress will win 122 out of 182 assembly seats in Gujarat,"  says Vaghela .
 
8.15am: EVM machine of booth number 310 of Memnagar goes out of order.
 
8.16am: Narendra Modi's strongman and former home minister Amit Shah casts vote from Naranpura.
 
8.18am: Huge crowd gathers outside at Nishan school under Ranip polling station where Modi will cast vote shortly
 
8.20am: Education minister Ramanlal Vora casts ballot from Isar constituency.
 
8.21am: "I am fighting for truth amd will emerge victorious... I'm doing this very seriously, nobody takes such a decision in jest," says Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, before casting her vote from high-profile Maninagar constituency.
 
8.25am: Health Minister Jay Narayan Vyas and Sports Minister Fakirbhai Raghabhai Vaghela cast vote.
 
8.30am: Congress candidate from Godhra CK Raulji casts ballot.
 
8.40: "Patel voters were with BJP and will always remain with us, they willnever accept Keshubhai's GPP. I will win with a margin of 1 lakh votes this time. Change in constituency won't affect my prospects," says Revenue Minister Anandiben Patel after casting vote. 
 
8.55am: EC mulls action against BJP leader Amit Shah for allegedly violating the model code of conduct by taking out a procession after the poll campaign deadline had ended.
 
9am: Average 9% voting in 1 hour. Experts feel the today's turnout will break the first phase record. 
 
910am: Modi's mother Hiraben backs him for prime minister's post after casting vote in Gandhinagar.
 
9.15am: Modi tweets, "Going to cast my vote for Gujarat Elections 2012. Let's vote and break our own record of the 1st phase!"
 

9.30am: EC contemplates issuing a notice to Modi for making adverse remarks against Congress president Sonia Gandhi during a 3D appearance on Friday. 
 
Modi, while addressing 53 public meetings simultaneously, ridiculed Sonia as having "lost her mental balance" and also did not spare her son and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi either, warning him to "watch his tongue".
 

9.50am: Modi casts vote at Ranip constituency, amid thunderous applause from hundreds of his supporters and fans who shouted “dekho dekho kaun aaya. Gujarat ka sher aaya!” (Look who has come. It's Gujarat's lion). 
 

"Iam cent percent sure that we will get a thumping majority in the elections. Just look at the surging crowd? This shows how pupular the BJP government is. Gujaratis will bring our government back to power," Modi said, flashing his trademark victory sign.
 
On his PM ambitions, he said, "I will continue to work for 6 crore Gujaratis... This is also a service to the nation. Gujarat is part of India."
 
10am: Congress legal cell files a complaint against Gujarat CM Narendra Modi for breaching of code of conduct by "voting in a procession'. 
 
10.10am: Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley on the way to meet Modi at Ahemdabad party office.
 
10.40am: The high-voltage elections have led to a nationwide frenzy, with Modi's PR dominating Twitter trends for most part of the day.
 
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi (Vote4Modi), BJP, Gujarat, his Maninagar constituency and NaMo TV channel remained trending on Twitter throughout the day.
 
11am: 21% turnout in first three hours, voters' surge continues. Sabarkantha district registered the highest turnout of 18%, followed by Kutch 15%.
 
11.15am: 78-year-old man dies of cardiac arrest after casting vote in Navavadaj area of Ahmedabad.  
 
11.25am: 4 bogus EVMs found from BJP supporters at Anjar, Kutch. Investigations underway.
 
11.30am: Governor Kamla Beniwal and Chief Electoral Officer Anita Karwal cast vote in Ahmedabad.
 
11.50am: BJP MLA Jetha Bharwad admitted to hospital in a serious condition after his bodyguard fired at him in Shehara constituency. Three others were also injured in the incident at Tarsang village.
 
He was recently caught watching porn in the assembly.
 
After Karnataka ,another porn scandal allegedly involving BJP MLAs in Gujarat came to fore in March. Two BJP MLAs, including Bharwad and Shankar Choudhury, were allegedly caught watching porn clips on their tablets during assembly proceedings.

 

12noon: RM Patel, former IAS babu & BJP candidate from Asarwa, files complaint against Congress workers.
 
12.30pm: Trouble at Ellisbridge constituency in Ahmedabad after electronic voting machines conk off at five polling booths.
 
12.55pm: Samarjitsinh Gaekwad, Maharaja of Vadodara, says, "Good to see huge turnout. Results of  election would be interesting."
 
1.pm: Mansa registers record 54% polling till 1pm, followed by Gandhinagar North 51%, Karjan 48%, Kapadvanj 47%, Matar 46%, Vejalpur 45%, Banaskantha 44%, Sabarkantha 41%, Maninagar 34.5%,  Mehmedabad 33%, Kutch 32%, Thasra 28% and Balasinor 27%.
 
1.30pm: Serpentine queues were seen since morning at 23,318 polling stations, with women and youth coming out in large numbers.
 
1.50pm: Arun Jaitely casts vote at Chimanbhai Patel Institute opposite Karnavati club.
 
2.15pm: 9% voting by 10am, 21% by 11am and now 38% by 1pm, experts feel at this rate it will cross 70% by 4pm. "Around 37-38 per cent polling has been recorded in the first five hours of polling till 1 PM, which is exactly the same as in phase-I till this time," a state Election Commission official said.
 
"It could be once again a record voter turnout in Gujarat as the trends so far indicate," he said.
 
2.30pm: BJP veteran LK Advani casts vote at Shahpur in Ahmedabad, meets Modi.
 
2.40pm: Liquor worth Rs 53,000 seized in Vadodara, Waghodia Congress candidate’s son booked.
 
3pm: 57% polling across the state till 3pm,  breaks record of 2002 and 2007 elections. This figure is a clear improvement on the first phase of polling, when 53% polling was recorded in the same time period. 
 
3.15pm:  The Congress has reacted to reports of firing on Bharwad, with Arjun Modhwadia saying the BJP MLA is a notorious person, his people were the ones who started firing.  
 
3.30pm: So it turns out that BJP MLA Jetha Bharwad, who claimed he was shot at in a polling booth may have actually started the firing himself!
 
Bharwad has been detained for opening fire on voters at the Panchmahal polling booth in Godhra, and injuring three people.
 
3.50pm: BJP leader Harin Pathak says Congress will not be able to hold to its traditional bastion in north and central Gujarat. BJP will cross 117, he adds.
 
4pm: A delegation from Bhutan, which is on a visit to Gujarat to study the election process, is impressed with the peaceful conduct of assembly polls in the state and hope to take home some electoral lessons.
 
Bhutan Deputy Governor Chewang Jurmi said, "We have witnessed quite and peaceful elections here. The entire process is very well coordinated and is going on smoothly."
 
Wishing to replicate the good electoral practices during polls in the Himalayan Kingdom, Jurmi said priority given to senior citizens and women for voting is a good move which can result in voter turnout increase.
 
4.30pm: 67% voting till 4.30pm.
 
5pm: Voting ends. Total turnout 70% Vejalpur records the highest turnout of 73%, Ghatlodia  72%, Maninagar 71%, Naranpura 69.5% and Ellisbridge and Asarwa 67.5% each. 
 
5.15pm: There has been large-scale practice of 'paid news' in the Gujarat elections, a fact- finding team of the Press Council of India has claimed.
 
PCI chairperson Justice Markandey Katju said, "I am informed that not only the print media but even the visual media (TV channels) indulged in large scale practice of paid news in the Gujarat elections."
 
Katju said that the full report on paid news in Gujarat elections is still being prepared and he plans to take it to the Election Commission, public and other authorities after it is submitted and seek action against erring politicians.
 
5.30pm: Large-scale practice of 'paid news' in Guj polls, says PCI.
 
7.20pm: Modi addesses supporters at BJP headquarters. "People have showed their respect for democracy with a record turnout. I thank voters, Election Commission and all those associated with the polling process for making Gujarat elections successful," Modi said.
 
7.25pm: According to initial exit poll results coming from C-Voter, BJP could win 124 out of 182 seats while another agency Chanakya predicts 140 seats for the BJP. Also, BJP is expected to get 
 
"I am confident that people of the country want development and voted for us." 
 
He said: "It is time for political pundits to learn a new word - pro incumbency."
 
High-profile constituencies:


 
Maninagar: Modi's constituency will see suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife Shweta Bhatt challenging his might on a Congress ticket.
 
Naranpura: It will see chargesheeted-former Gujrat home minister Amit Shah take on Congress's Jitubhai Patel.
 
Kapadwanj: The constituency will see Congress strongman Shankersinh Vaghela battle it out against BJP's Kanubhai Dabhi.
 
Akota: Saurabh Patel of the BJP will take on Lalit Patel of the Congress.
 
Ghatlodia: The seat will see Anandiben Patel of the BJP against Rameshbhai Dudhwala of the Congress.
 
Sidhpur: It will see Jay Narayan Vyas of the BJP against Balvantsinh Rajput of the Congress.

 
About 1.98 crore are eligible to vote in the second phase for which 820 candidates are in the fray. Modi is contesting from Maninagar in Ahmedabad.
 
It will be an acid test of popularity for Modi and results on December 20 will also decide who'll be BJP's next PM nominee for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
 
The polling will take place in 40 constituencies in five districts of central Gujarat, 32 in five districts of north Gujarat, 17 in Ahmedabad city area and on six in Kutch district. 
 
The five districts of North Gujarat where polling will be held on Monday - Banaskantha, Sabarkantha, Mehsana, Patan and Gandhinagar - are bastions of the saffron party while central Gujarat districts Godhara, Dahod, Kheda and Anand are Congress strongholds.
 
Vadodara city is a BJP bastion while the Congress holds the tribal-dominated seats in the district.
 
In the 2007 polls, the BJP swept north Gujarat, bagging 25 of the 32 seats but the party is unlikely to repeat the stellar performance this time. Expecting some losses there, the BJP has focused on central Gujarat where the Congress performed impressively in 2007.
 
Fifteen ministers in the Modi cabinet are also contesting in the second phase. They include Anandi Patel, Jaynarayan Vyas, Nitin Patel, Fakir Waghela, Ramanlal Vora, Saurabh Patel, Praful Patel, Pradipsinh Jadeja, Jitu Sukhadia, Vasan Ahir, Liladhar Waghela, Jaswantsinh Bhabhor, Jaysinh Chauhan, Jaydrathsinh Parmar and Parbat Patel.
 
Former minister of state for home Amit Shah and Gujarat NCP president Jayant Patel are also trying their luck in the electoral waters. 
 
From Congress, its seniormost leader and former Chief Minister Shankarsinh Vaghela, his son Mahendra Vaghela, former state Congress president Siddharth Patel, Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt are in the fray.
 
For Ellisbridge seat in Ahmedabad, Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) of Keshubhai Patel has given ticket to Jagruti Pandya, the wife of slain BJP leader and former Minister of State for Home Haren Pandya.
 
For this phase, BJP has fielded candidates for all the 95 seats while Congress and GPP are contesting 92 and 84 seats.
 
Apart from these three major parties, there are total of 32 political parties and 284 independents in the fray.
 
Voting will take place in 23,318 polling stations, for which Election commission has made elaborate security arrangements.
 
The last day of campaigning saw intense political activities at many places, as both the major parties deployed a galaxy of leaders to woo voters.
 
Modi led the BJP’s campaigning with six public meetings. Actor and former minister Vinod Khanna, party leader and actor Smriti Irani, Paresh Raval, Manoj Joshi, and the cast of TV serial Taarak Mehta…also campaigned for BJP.
 
The Congress’s charge was led by Gandhi family scion Rahul Gandhi, who addressed a public meeting in Bhuj. Ahmed Patel, Manish Tewari and Raj Babbar also campaigned for the party. The counting of votes will take place on December 20.
 

Modi vs Rahul
 
Gujarat will hold a potentially game-changing vote today that could help decide whetherodi or Rahul, scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, becomes the country's next prime minister.
 
If, as many polls predict, Modi wins a third term as chief minister of the state, he is expected to project himself as the presumptive prime ministerial candidate for his party in a general election due in 2014.
 
The margin of Modi’s victory will help determine whether he wins his party’s backing to lead the election-year charge.
 
Analysts agree that Modi, 62, would be a formidable foe for the Congress if he can triumph over both BJP infighting and fears within the party and its allies that he is too divisive a figure to take on the dynasty that has ruled India for most of the post-independence era.
 
Rahul, 42, in contrast, stayed away from Gujarat until the last day of campaigning. Analysts said Congress is certain to lose the election and its leaders do not want Gandhi associated with defeat again, after his failure to lead the party to victory in Uttar Pradesh this year.
 

Tough fight on Jamalpur-Khadia seat
 
Jamalpur-Khadia was abuzz with heightened poll activity on Sunday — with all three contenders for the seat making last ditch efforts to woo voters. Though money, muscle power, promises and previous developmental work flows free in the constituency, even guesstimates fail to predict which way the ballot will swing. 
 
For BJP's Bhushan Bhatt, this is his last chance to hold on to the four-decade old saffron bastion in Khadia, a seat that sent his father, late Ashok Bhatt to power eight times. While this multiplies Bhushan’s pressure to retain the legacy, the two times Congress MLA Sabir Kabliwala is fighting this polls as an independent candidate. Congress, meanwhile, has fielded Samirkhan Sipai, a fresh and young candidate.Kabliwala is adamant to teach Congress a lesson by being victorious, while Sipai too wants to promote himself to MLA from the seat, from his current position as a municipal councilor from 
Juhapura. 
 
Historically important and one of the smallest constituencies in the state, Khadia is now merged with Jamalpur constituency and rechristened as Jamalpur-Khadia. And this has upset equations. The seat is now dominated by Muslims with almost 95,000 voters. There is significant votebank of 35,000 each of chhipas and dalits. 
 
Ajmer trip on offer?
 
The battle between Girish Parmar and Shailesh Parmar at Danilimda is getting tougher by the day. The seat, which is dominated by Muslims and dalits, is abuzz with rumours that a particular candidate has offered Muslims a pilgrimage trip to Ajmer. However, most voters denied the offer and said they are okay with the pilgrimage idea, but it will have to wait till the polling day is over. Needless to say, the candidate withdrew his idea.
 
It is advantage Shah in Naranpura
 
Master strategist Amit Shah is relying on ‘brand Modi’ and BJP's development plank. Dr Jitu Patel, a medical practitioner, is counting on his clean image and easy accessibility
 
It is a battle between a spoiled image and a clean image in the Naranpura assembly constituency. BJP has fielded heavyweight leader and former minister of state for home Amit Shah while former BJP MLA Dr Jitu Patel is the Congress candidate.
 
Master strategist Shah is relying upon ‘brand Modi’ and development work done by the BJP government in the last decade. Dr Patel, a medical practitioner, is counting on his clean image and easy accessibility. 
 
In the campaign material distributed to voters, Shah projects himself as the victim of a political conspiracy. Accompanied by a convoy of bikes, he comes out on streets and visits societies. Standing in a Gypsy, he accepts flowers, greetings and wishes from residents. His supporters praise him through the loudspeaker. The rally gives the impression that a big political leader is in the race. Shah said that he was sure of his victory and that he would secure two-thirds of the votes.
 
The doctor’s style of campaigning is different. He solicits votes while walking with his supporters. He does not speak about the two criminal cases against his rival. The material asks voters to choose a leader without a blot on his image, and who is accessible to anybody, anytime. “I am not uttering any word against Shah and criminal cases lodged against him. I respect my rival and maintain dignity during my campaign,” Patel said. 
 
Though Naranpura seat was separated from the huge Sarkhej constituency after delimitation, it is a stronghold of the saffron party. BJP has an edge over the Congress due to the political clout and strategy of Shah. But Patel is giving a tough fight. The Congress’ local unit, however, suffers from infighting. 
 

Thakors, govt employees hold key to Gandhinagar
 
The Congress and the BJP seem to have weighed the prevailing caste configurations in each constituency carefully before choosing their candidates for the five seats falling in Gandhinagar district. Hence, a close contest on each of the seats seems inevitable. However, the Congress seems to have an edge in three constituencies while the BJP appears to have the upper hand on two seats. 
 
Congress looks set to dent BJP citadel in North Gujarat
 

Rivers Banas and Saraswati got Narmada waters in their riverbeds during the BJP regime, which seemed to satisfy the thirst of BJP leaders of North Gujarat in 2007. In the last assembly elections, the saffron party won 23 out of the 29 seats in the region, with Congress managing six. The ruling party is, however, facing a tough battle in 2012. Delimitation has reduced the number constituencies to 27, of which BJP may win 17.
 
There are eight ministers from North Gujarat in the state cabinet, with every district represented by at least one minister. The BJP leaders’ satisfaction has turned into political aspiration, which is affecting the party in Banaskantha. Delimitation has spoilt its show in Patan district. In Mehsana district, BJP candidates face anti-incumbency, whereas in Sabarkantha, the party suffers from attitude-related issues and non-performance of incumbents. 

 

 
(With PTI, DNA inputs)
 


 
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