Ahmedabad: Amidst tight security, voting is underway on Monday in 95 constituencies in the second phase of Gujarat Assembly elections, which will decide the fate of 820 candidates, including Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Modi, who is contesting from Maninagar assembly constituency, is locked in a direct contest with Congress candidate Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, a new entrant testing political waters for the first time.
The constituencies where polling started include 17 in Ahmedabad city, 40 constituencies in five districts-Vadodara, Dahod, Panchmahal, Kheda and Anand-of Central Gujarat, on 32 seats in five districts -Patan, Mehsana, Sabarkantha, Gandhinagar and Banaskantha-of North Gujarat, and on six seats in Kutch District.
Voting is taking place on 23,318 polling stations amidst elaborate and robust security arrangements. In Ahmedabad, 1,700 polling booths have been marked as critical by the Election Commission. Around 1.98 crore voters will seal the fate of 820 candidates, contesting in this phase.
Out of total 1,98,99,501 voters, there are 1,03,58,265 males, 95,41,157 females and 79 other voters who are likely to exercise their franchise.
Out of a total of 820 in this phase, 49 women candidates in the fray. BJP has fielded candidates on all 95 seats going to poll in this phase, whereas Congress is contesting on 92 and Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) and Bahujan Samaaj Party (BSP) on 84 seats each, besides 284 independents in fray.
From Congress, former chief minister Shankersinh Vaghela, his son Mahendra Vaghela, former state Congress president Siddharth Patel, are amongst prominent candidates contesting in phase-II.
From BJP, states spokesperson and health minister Jaynarayan Vyas, MoS for industry Saurabh Patel and Revenue Minister Anandi Patel, Praful Patel, controversial former MoS of Home Amit Shah, are amongst prominent ones contesting in phase-II.
GPP, has fielded Jagruti Pandya, wife of slain BJP former MoS of Home Haren Pandya, from the Ellisbridge seat in Ahmedabad, where polling is taking place today.
In order to ensure free and fair elections, the Commission has deputed 7,256 micro-observers throughout the 12 districts where voting is taking place for 95 seats.