Elections: Gujarat Votes for 89 Seats, AAP Vying for Surat, Morbi

The first phase of assembly polls in Gujarat saw 89 assembly seats and Surat is among the key areas that voted. Aam Aadmi Party has launched a major campaign in Gujarat to try to prevent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from taking the throne for the seventh consecutive term.

Till 5 p.m., an average voter turnout of 58 percent was recorded. There are 19 districts of Kutch and Saurashtra region and the Southern part of the state that form the 89 seats. Surat, also known as the Diamond city, is the key industrial hub that both parties are vying for. It is known as a stronghold for the BJP and allowed the party to return to power in 2017.

On the other hand, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal has stated that the party hopes to win at least half of the 16 segments in Surat. They have campaigned extensively in the city. Another city of contention is Morbi where the bridge collapse killed 135 people under the leadership of the BJP. The government was partly blamed for the collapse of the bridge as the investigation revealed it had not been renovated when due and there were lapses in management as well. Following its victory in Punjab this year, AAP is trying hard to win over Gujarat.

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Kantilal Amrutiya has joined the BJP but was not part of the initial list of candidates. Amrutiya was seen jumping into the water to save people after the bridge collapsed. Other key candidates in the first phase include former Leader of Opposition in Assembly Paresh Dhanani, cricketer Ravindra Jadeja’s wife Rivaba Jadeja (BJP), and AAP’s Chief Ministerial face Isudan Gadhvi.

BJP has a target of securing 140 out of the 182 seats in the assembly. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has addressed 20 rallies in Gujarat so far and seven others are on the agenda for the second phase.

Recently, while campaigning in Gujarat, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann’s locality became the scene of a massive protest where the police had to use batons to control the crowd. The protest was carried out by farmers and union members demanding a wage increase, implementation of the 5-marla land scheme, 33 percent Dalit representation in village cooperative societies, relief for farmers suffering due to cattle deaths from lumpy skin disease, compensation for crop damage, and an increase in recompense for land acquisition.

Vineet Washington

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