Voting in 25 Gujarat Lok Sabha Seats on May 7; BJP Aims for Clean Sweep, Congress Faces Uphill Battle

Voting for 25 Lok Sabha seats and 5 assembly seats in Gujarat will be held on Tuesday. The BJP aims to repeat its 2014 and 2019 sweeps in its stronghold, with PM Modi and Amit Shah leading the campaign. Around 4.97 crore people are eligible to vote in over 50,000 polling stations. The Congress, allied with AAP, hopes to prevent a BJP sweep. Key candidates include Shah, Mansukh Mandaviya, and Paresh Dhanani. The BJP has faced criticism over a remark made by Rupala about the Kshatriya community. The Congress has emphasized unemployment and inflation, while the BJP has accused it of planning to alter the Constitution and quotas.

PTI | Ahmedabad | Updated: 06-05-2024 17:13 IST | Created: 06-05-2024 17:13 IST
Voting in 25 Gujarat Lok Sabha Seats on May 7; BJP Aims for Clean Sweep, Congress Faces Uphill Battle
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Voting for 25 out of 26 Lok Sabha seats and bypolls to five assembly seats in Gujarat will be held on Tuesday, with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party looking to repeat its sweep of 2014 and 2019 in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

PM Modi and Shah, who are expected to arrive in the state tonight, will cast their votes at booths in Ahmedabad city that fall under Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat. Modi will exercise his franchise at a booth in Nishan Public School in Ranip locality, while Shah will vote at Naranpura sub-zonal office in the city.

As per poll officials, a total of 4.97 crore persons, comprising 2.56 crore males, 2.41 crore females and 1,534 from the third gender, will vote in 50,788 polling booths. These comprise 17,275 polling booths in urban areas and 33,513 in rural areas, EC data showed.

The EC said it has deployed 50,960 ballot units (BU), 49,140 control units (CUs) and 49,140 VVPATs for the Lok Sabha polls and assembly bypolls in the state. Moreover, 25 percent BUs and CUs, and 35 percent VVPATs have been kept on standby, it said.

''The electoral system of Gujarat is fully equipped to make the process a pleasant experience for the voters. Adequate police arrangements are in place to prevent any untoward incident. A dry day has been declared in all districts. The use of loudspeakers will be prohibited over 48 hours leading to conclusion of voting process,'' Additional chief electoral officer Kuldeep Arya said.

''Keeping in view the possibility of a heat wave on polling day, arrangements have been made to provide sufficient shade at all polling stations. Medical kits, essential medicines and ORS facilities will be available,'' he added.

Voter assistance booths have been set up at all polling stations, Arya said.

Of the 25 seats that will go to polls on May 7, Ahmedabad (East) has the highest number of candidates at 18, making it necessary for the poll body to use two ballot units (BUs) across its 1,820 polling stations. The lowest number of candidates, at three, is in Bardoli.

Navsari has the highest number of voters at 22 lakh followed by Gandhinagar and Rajkot, while the lowest is in Bharuch, as per EC data.

The BJP has already drawn first blood with Mukesh Dalal winning from Surat unopposed after the nomination of the Congress' Nilesh Kumbhani was rejected over irregularities in the signature of proposers and other candidates withdrew.

Among the prominent candidates in the fray are Union Home Minister Shah from Gandhinagar, as well as his cabinet colleagues Mansukh Mandaviya and Parshottam Rupala from Porbandar and Rajkot, respectively.

During the campaign, the BJP had to face the ire of the Kshatriya community over a remark made by Rupala in Rajkot. He had claimed several rulers from the community had ''roti and beti'' (marriage and trade) relations with the British and other foreign invaders.

Rupala is up against former Congress MLA Paresh Dhanani, who had defeated him in the 2002 assembly polls.

Several leaders from the community had recently made an appeal to their brethren to forgive Rupala for the remark and vote for the BJP for the sake of the nation and PM Modi.

The Congress, which is fighting the Lok Sabha polls in alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party, hopes this move to prevent division of opposition votes will stop the BJP from repeating its sweeping performance of 2014 and 2019.

As part of the alliance, the Congress, which has fielded four sitting and eight former MLAs, got 24 seats (including Surat), while the AAP has been given Bhavnagar and Bharuch.

The BJP's campaign, in a state considered its strongest base, was led by PM Modi and Shah.

For the Congress, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi were among the star campaigners, along with Mallikarjun Kharge, who recently addressed a rally in Ahmedabad.

Others who campaigned included Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Nirmala Sitharaman for the BJP and Ashok Gehlot, Shashi Tharoor, Abhishek Sanghvi and Pawan Khera etc for the Congress.

The Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP's campaign saw rallies by Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann as well as senior leaders Sanjay Singh and Gopal Yadav. Sunita Kejriwal, the wife of the Delhi CM who is in jail in connection with a excise policy linked case, also held a roadshow in Bharuch.

While the presence of PM Modi towered over all else in the campaign, the Congress tried to corner the BJP by claiming unemployment, inflation were at an all time high.

The Congress also tried to impress upon the voter that the BJP would change the Constitution if it retained power, while the ruling party hit back claiming the opposition party planned to snatch quotas of Dalits, tribals and OBCs and give them to Muslims.

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

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