The polls for Gujarat were held in two phases on December 1 and 5 in 33 districts of the BJP-ruled state. Meanwhile, the voting process to elect candidates in 68 assembly seats in Himachal Pradesh took place on 12 November.
Elaborate and foolproof arrangements have been made in all counting centres. All vaults, where interrogated EVMs are kept, are under three-level internal cordoned security manned by the Central Armed Forces.
1,621 candidates fighting in Gujarat
Much like previous assembly polls, Gujarat’s election will be a battle for prestige for the BJP, which has firmly entrenched itself in the coastal state’s political landscape. Being the home state of two of the country’s top political leaders – Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Interior Minister Amit Shah – winning the election means another stamp of approval for the BJP and its top representatives.
The Congress, which has run a rather muted campaign in the state, is hoping to consolidate its gains since 2017, when it managed to improve its tally to 77 seats. However, the grand old party has since seen an exodus of several prominent leaders, including Hardik Patel.
Meanwhile, the AAP will be looking to make a strong debut in the state, hoping to make deep inroads in its bid to remove Congress as the BJP’s primary challenger. Compared to the Congress, the AAP has been campaigning quite aggressively in the state led by party boss and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal.
Himachal Pradesh: the fate of 412 candidates to be decided
Finally, on Thursday, the fate of the 412 candidates vying for the 68 seats in the Himachal Pradesh assembly will be decided. The election results will show whether the BJP has managed to change the trend of no government repeat after five years or whether the Congress has managed to continue with the trend of government change by ousting the BJP from power.
Bitter rivals BJP and Congress contested all 68 seats in the assembly, AAP over 67 seats, BSP over 53 seats, Rashtriya Devbhoomi Party, which had spearheaded an agitation calling for the constitution of Swaran Ayog, over 29 seats and over 11 seats. There are 99 independent candidates including BJP and Congress rebels as well as candidates from other smaller parties.
Exit polls predict BJP poised for landslide victory in Gujarat, has edge over Congress in Himachal Pradesh
Exit polls predicted a massive win for the BJP in Gujarat, where it is likely to surpass its previous best performance of 127 seats in the state in 2002.
In Himachal, the Saffron Party and the Congress may be locked in a close fight. However, the exit poll survey shows that the BJP will manage to reach half of the state. While most exit polls predict a BJP victory in the state, Axis My India’s exit poll shows Congress ahead in the hill state.
The Aam Aadmi party, which had waged a high-pitched campaign in Gujarat led by its leader Arvind Kejriwal, will make marginal gains in the state but fall short of its lofty claims to upset the BJP’s apple cart. Exit polls predict that AAP could just about make it into double digits in the state.
The EC revises the count of daily preparations
Vote counting for the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh polls along with six assembly by-elections and a Lok Sabha will begin on Thursday at 8am with ban orders in place around the counting halls to ensure peace and quiet.
According to the Election Commission, the counting of votes will take place in a total of 116 counting centers in Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Odisha, Bihar, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh, where six assemblies and a Lok Sabha poll were held.
In a statement, the EC said vote counting would resume for postal votes at 8am and continue until completed.
A counting observer per assembly venue has been delegated in Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and for polls. Two special observers each in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat will be on the ground to ensure the smooth counting process, the European Commission said.
After each counting cycle, the results are tabulated in a prescribed format. This is signed by the returning officer and observer and a copy is shared with the candidates.
After the announcement of the round results, the counting of the next round will be resumed in accordance with the existing instructions.