GANDHINAGAR (GUJARAT): Riding on the Modi factor, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is confident of retaining power in Gujarat while the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is looking to make a strong debut and Congress which was absent from hectic campaigning is seeking a favourable verdict as the counting of votes in the Assembly elections is set to begin.
Assembly elections in Gujarat were held in two phases on December 1 and 5. The approximate voter turnout by the end of the second phase of the Gujarat elections was recorded at 59.11 per cent. While in the first phase of polling, Gujarat saw an overall turnout of 63.14 per cent.
Days of the results of the poll, the exit polls have indicated a clear win for the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Gujarat. BJP has been in power in Gujarat for 27 years with Prime Minister Narendra Modi remaining in the Chief Minister's post for the longest time before becoming Prime Minister.
Congress gave a tough fight to the ruling BJP in the last assembly elections in 2017. However, AAP may spoil the game for Congress by taking away a significant vote share in their favour. The counting of votes for the Gujarat Assembly election will begin at 8 am.
Elaborate arrangements have been made at all the counting 37 centres. Gujarat Chief Electoral officer P Bharathi said that 182 counting observers, 182 election officers and 494 assistant election officers will be on duty for the counting process.
There will be an additional 78 Assistant Election Officers for the counting of votes. In addition, 71 additional Assistant Election Officers have been assigned responsibility for the electronically transmitted postal ballot system.
At 8:00 am first counting of postal ballots will be done and from 8:30 am along with postal ballots counting of the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) votes will also start. CEO P Bharathi said that all the counting staff have been appointed.
The second randomization will also be completed on Wednesday and the third randomization process will be done at 5:00 am on Thursday before the counting of votes.
A micro-observer, counting supervisor and counting assistant are assigned duty at each polling centre table. The entire counting process will be video graphed.
The EVMs will be taken out of the strongroom and set up in the counting hall in the presence of the Returning Officer/Assistant Returning Officer, candidate counting agents and observers appointed by the Election Commission of India.
CEO P Bharathi after reviewing the preparations for the counting of votes said that all necessary preparations have been completed at 37 counting stations in 33 districts of the state.
Local police will be deployed outside the counting centre campus. There will be a tight presence of the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) at the counting location and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) outside the counting centre gates.
No person or vehicle will be allowed to enter the complex except for officials on duty and specially authorized political representatives.
Notably, in 2017, BJP was also reeling under pressure with the ongoing Patidar protests but this time the situation is in BJP's favour and the party may gain more seats compared to the previous polls.