Gujarat election on Dec 1, 5; results on Dec 8text_fields
New Delhi: The Election Commission announced today that the crucial Assembly election in Gujarat will take place in two phases on December 1 and December 5. On December 8, the election results will be announced, a the same day that of Himachal Pradesh will also be announced.
The eagerly anticipated announcement happened in the wake of the tragic bridge collapse in Morbi, which claimed the lives of 135 people. In fact, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar honoured those who died in the terrible incident as he began speaking with the media.
The deadline to submit nominations to contest the election is November 14 according to the Election Commission's schedule, and the gazette announcement will be published day after tomorrow. November 17 is the last date to withdraw a nomination. In the first round of voting, votes for 89 seats will be cast and in the second round votes for 93 seats.
The election commission refuted claims that the vote was delayed by stating that the current Assembly's term expires on February 18 of the following year. Before deciding on the dates, Mr Kumar said a number of variables, including the weather, were taken into consideration.
Allegations of EVM manipulation were also addressed by the Chief Election Commissioner. "Actions and outcomes speak louder than words. At times, parties critical of the commission have got surprise results in elections. Some have questioned EVMs, but they are silent when they win elections through the same EVMs," he added.
With the arrival of Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) into its political landscape, Gujarat is preparing for an exciting election that may end up being a three-cornered fight.
After the Morbi bridge collapse, which exposed glaring oversights, the BJP, which has controlled the state for almost 25 years, is in trouble. This puts the Bhupendra Patel administration in a precarious position, NDTV reported.
The AAP is working hard to succeed this time after its previous attempts met with limited success, emboldened by its resounding victory in Punjab earlier this year.
The Congress had performed better than it had in decades in the 2017 state elections, which had hurt the BJP's results. However, the ruling party was still able to hold onto power.
This time, the AAP, which has organised a comprehensive campaign starring Mr Kejriwal and other top party leaders, is also posing a threat to the Congress. However, the grand old party's leaders have stated that they are certain to win and that their door-to-door campaign has got positive feedback. The party has advised voters to stay away from the AAP and the Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM, referring to them as the BJP's "B team."
However, the advantage of strong election machinery and a sizable support base still belongs to the governing BJP. The elections in Gujarat are also a prestige contest for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, and the BJP will do everything in its power to ensure that it wins the state.