The gruelling election campaign in Gujarat, which saw two top-most leaders of BJP and Congress – PM Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi – leading the attack, came to an end on Tuesday. The second and last phase of polling will be held on Thursday after which results will be declared on December 18.
Along with Gujarat, results of Himachal Pradesh assembly polls will be declared on Monday.
In the last two months, top leaders from the two parties criss-crossed the regions of Gujarat holding number of rallies and meetings, pulling out all stops to woo the voters. The campaign heat also saw sharp exchange between the two parties, both in Gujarat as well as in New Delhi.
The second and final phase of elections, for which the open campaigning ended at 5 pm, will see 93 assembly seats spread across 14 districts in north and central Gujarat going to polls. A total of 851 candidates are in the fray for the second phase.
66.75% voting was recorded in the first phase on December 9, covered 89 seats.
Gujarat, BJP’s stronghold for over last two decades saw Congress party sewing up a broad social coalition with prominent Patidar, OBC, and Dalit leaders in its bid to unseat the ruling party.
The influential Patidar community, which accounts for around 12 per cent of the state’s population, could prove to be the ‘X factor’ in the polls in which agitating quota spearhead Hardik Patel pledged support to the Congress.
The last day of campaigning saw both Modi and Gandhi visiting temples. While Gandhi paid a visit to the famous Lord Jagannath Temple in Ahmedabad, Modi took blessings at the famous Ambaji Temple in Banaskantha.
Hardik Patel charged up the campaign by holding a massive rally in Nikol area of the city, where he appealed to voters to “teach a lesson” to the BJP this time.
The 24-year-old, arguably the most talked about personality in Gujarat today, even held a road show here defying authorities who had denied permission for the event.
Several senior leaders from both the BJP and the Congress also campaigned extensively for their candidates in major parts of north and central Gujarat.
In the 2012 assembly polls, the BJP had won 115 seats, while the Congress bagged 61.
(With inputs from PTI)