Gujarat Has Voted; BJP Vs Opposition On PM Modi's "Roadshow": 10 Points
Gujarat Assembly Election 2017: The BJP's big challenge in the second round was to retain Ahmedabad and Vadodara, Gujarat's two mega cities that had overwhelmingly backed the party in the last election.
Gujarat Assembly Election 2017: Votes will be counted on December 18.
Ahmedabad: Prime Minister Narendra Modi waited in queue to vote at an Ahmedabad school, walked about 100 metres down the road holding up his inked finger, and then did sort of a "roadshow" in his car for another 800 metres as thousands of people gathered to greet him cheered. This, the Congress alleges, is a violation of election rules when Gujarat was in the middle of voting. In an unprecedented attack on the Election Commission for not acting against top BJP leaders, the Congress has accused the poll body of "sleeping on the job" and acting as a "puppet of the BJP government".
Here is your 10-point cheatsheet to the story:
Hundreds of Congress workers protested outside the Delhi office of the Election Commission. Congress leaders said such a protest on the day of polling was unprecedented and was aimed at "waking up" the commission.
"I want to ask the Election Commission, are there different laws for the Congress and BJP? This is an insult of constitution," said the Congress' Sushmita Dev. Party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala alleged, "The EC has now emerged as a puppet, a frontal organisation of the BJP."
The Election Commission has said it was examining the complaint on PM Modi's roadshow. On allegations that Union Ministers and BJP president Amit Shah had also violated the code of conduct by addressing the media yesterday, the commission said it has received a report from the Gujarat Chief Electoral Officer and was studying it.
The BJP has also criticised the Congress for its attack on the Election Commission. "The grapes are sour so the Congress is making such allegations against the Election Commission," said the BJP's Bhupendra Yadav.
The Congress said that the Election Commission has ignored repeated petitions made by it on alleged code of conduct violations by the BJP and the Prime Minister. The party had also demanded action against PM Modi for a speech at industry body FICCI yesterday and said the poll panel must act against the BJP for releasing a manifesto in Gujarat after campaigning ended.
Around 69 per cent voter turnout was recorded till 5 pm in the second and final phase of the Gujarat assembly polls, the Election Commission has said. BJP chief Amit Shah, along with son Jay Shah, was among early voters, as was PM Modi's mother Hiraba, 95, who voted in Gandhinagar. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley voted in Ahmedabad.
In the first phase of assembly elections in 89 constituencies across Kutch, Saurashtra and south Gujarat on Saturday last, there was 68 per cent voter turnout, lower than the 71.3 per cent for the whole of Gujarat in the last assembly election. The turnout was low in rural areas and those dominated by the Patels or Paatidars, loyal to the BJP for years, but upset this time at not being included among castes which get the benefit of affirmative action.
The BJP, which has been in power in Gujarat for 22 years, had won 115 of Gujarat's 182 assembly seats in the 2012 assembly election. The Congress had won 61. A party needs 92 to get a majority and form government. Votes will be counted on Monday, December 18. Exit polls have predicted that the BJP will get 116 seats in Gujarat and the Congress 65.