The fate of candidates, who contested Assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, is being decided today. Polling for 182 Assembly seats in Gujarat was held in two phases while in Himachal Pradesh voting was held in a single phase for all 68 seats.
The electoral battle in Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, has turned more intense this time with the entry of the Aam Aadmi Party. Gujarat is witnessing a triangular battle between the BJP, Congress and AAP. The Arvind Kejriwal-led party has shifted its focus to Gujarat encouraged by its success in the Punjab state elections. AAP is contesting all 182 seats in Gujarat.
While AAP put all its force behind campaigning in Gujarat with Arvind Kejriwal leading the charge, BJP heavily relied on PM Modi and Amit Shah. Ahead of the second phase of polling, PM Modi held a 50-kilometre-long roadshow in Ahmedabad. On the other hand, Gujarat Congress leaders led the campaign with Rahul Gandhi addressing a few rallies. BJP has remained in power for the last 27 years in the state. In the 2017 Assembly elections, BJP won 99 seats while Congress could secure only 80 seats.
In Himachal Pradesh, which has traditionally seen a bipolar contest between Congress and BJP, the entry of AAP could make things interesting this time. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra led the campaign for Congress, which is aiming for a comeback. In the hill state, PM Modi was the major face of BJP's election campaign. AAP deployed Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann to lead the campaign.
Gujarat voted in two phases on December 1 and 5. Voter turnout stood at 66.31 per cent, lower than the 71.28 per cent recorded in the 2017 Assembly elections. Gujarat has 4.91 crore voters, including 3.24 lakh first-time voters. Himachal Pradesh also recorded a high voter turnout of 75.6 percent, where 41.60 lakh voters out of the total 55.25 lakh, exercised their franchise on November 12.