70 women candidates out of 788 candidates
Among other parties, BSP has declared its candidates for 57 seats, while 14 candidates of BTP and four candidates of CPI(M) are in the fray. A total of 339 independents are also trying their luck in this phase. There are 70 women candidates out of a total of 788 candidates in the first phase, of which nine are from BJP, six from Congress, and five from AAP. AAP’s chief ministerial candidate Isudan Gadhvi is trying his luck from Khambhalia assembly in Devbhoomi Dwarka district in the Saurashtra region where polling will be held on Thursday. AAP’s Gujarat unit president Gopal Italia is the candidate from Surat’s Katargam seat.
Riva, the wife of cricketer Ravindra Jadeja, is contesting from Jamnagar North.
Prominent candidates in the first phase include Riva Ba Jadeja, wife of cricketer Ravindra Jadeja from Jamnagar North, Harsh Shanghvi and Purnesh Modi, BJP MLAs from different Surat seats, Purushottam Solanki, a five-time MLA from Bhavnagar Rural. The fate of sitting Congress MLAs like Lalit Kagathre, Lalit Vasoya, Rutwik Makwana, and Mohammad Javed Peerzada will also be sealed in the EVMs in the first phase itself. Seven-time MLA and veteran tribal leader Chhotu Basava are trying his luck from Jhagadia in Bharuch.
54 seats of Saurashtra-Kutch important for Congress
54 seats of Saurashtra-Kutch are important for Congress to perform better in the state. In this region, the Congress won 30 seats in the 2017 elections, whereas in the 2012 elections, the party had got only 12 seats. At the same time, BJP got only 23 seats in the last election, whereas in the year 2012 elections, it won 35 seats. In the last election, the Congress had also performed better in South Gujarat, winning 10 seats in 2017 as against six in 2012. At the same time, BJP got 25 seats, whereas, in the year 2012 elections, the ruling party won 28 seats. Surat has 12 seats in South Gujarat, which has been a ‘stronghold’ of the BJP for a long time.
About 5 crores registered voters in Gujarat
The BJP is facing a challenge from the region this time as AAP has fielded some of its senior leaders and is expected to win seven seats in the city as announced by the party’s national convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Still working. Gujarat’s AAP state president Gopal Italia is contesting from Katargam in Surat, the party general secretary from Karanj, and Patidar leader Alpesh Kataria from Varachha Road. According to the state CEO’s office, a total of 4,91,35,400 voters are registered in Gujarat, out of which 2,39,76,670 voters are eligible to vote in the first phase. Of these, 5.74 lakh voters are in the age group of 18 to 19 years while 4,945 voters are above 99 years of age.
More than 14 thousand polling stations for the first phase
According to the Election Commission, in the first phase, polling will be held at 14,382 polling stations, out of which 3,311 centers are in urban areas and the remaining 11,071 polling stations have been set up in rural areas. According to the release, the commission has set up 89 ‘model polling stations’ and many polling stations will be manned by differently-abled personnel, 89 polling stations have been made eco-friendly, while 611 polling stations will be manned by women. According to the commission, there are 18 such polling booths whose responsibility will be handed over to the youth. According to the release, 34,324 ballot units, an equal number of control units, and 38,749 Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines will be used in the first phase. The Commission informed that 2,20,288 trained officers and employees have been deployed for the smooth conduct of polling. According to the release, in the first phase, 27,978 presiding officers and 78,985 election officers will be posted.
As part of the campaign for the first phase, BJP, Congress, and AAP leaders did roadshows and addressed public meetings. On behalf of the ruling BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP President JP Nadda, BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Bishwa Sharma, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant Apart from this, many central ministers and state leaders campaigned. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann campaigned the most on behalf of AAP. Apart from them, Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia, and Rajya Sabha members Raghav Chadha and Sanjay Singh also campaigned on behalf of the party.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, and national president Mallikarjun Kharge, besides local leaders for the Congress, addressed public meetings in the last few days of the first phase. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took time out from his ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ to address two election rallies in the state this month.