After a record 71% voting in the first phase, Gujarat will go for the second and final phase of polling on Monday for the remaining 95 seats in the 182-member Assembly that will also decide the electoral fate of chief minister Narendra Modi, who is seeking a third term.
The polling will take place in 40 constituencies in five districts of central Gujarat, 32 in five districts of north Gujarat, 17 in Ahmedabad city area and on six in Kutch district. Counting of votes will be taken up on December 20. About 1.98 crore are eligible to vote in the second phase for which 820 candidates are in the fray. Modi is contesting from Maninagar in Ahmedabad.
Following the impressive 70.75% voting for the 87 seats in first phase, Monday's polling has attained much more significance, particularly when, apart from Modi many of his cabinet colleagues are also facing the electoral test. Voters will also decide the fate of political bigwigs like state ministers Anandi Patel, Saurabh Patel, Jaynarayan Vyas, Ramanlal Vora, Praful Patel, Pradipsinh Jadeja and Fakir Vaghela.
Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsi Prajapati alleged fake encounter case accused and former minister of state for home Amit Shah will also be awaiting his fate following Monday's voting.
From Congress party, its senior-most leader and former chief minister Shankarsinh Vaghela, his son Mahendra Vaghela, former state Congress president Siddharth Patel, Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt are in the fray.
For Ellisbridge seat in Ahmedabad, Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) of Keshubhai Patel has given ticket to Jagruti Pandya, the wife of slain BJP leader and former minister of state for home Haren Pandya.
For this phase, BJP has fielded candidates for all the 95 seats while Congress and GPP are contesting 92 and 84 seats respectively.
Apart from these three major parties, there are total of 32 political parties and 284 independents in the fray.
Voting will take place in 23,318 polling stations, for which Election commission has made elaborate security arrangements.
"To ensure free and fair elections for the second phase, we have assigned duties to 7,256 micro-observers throughout the 12 districts where voting will take place on 95 seats," Chief Electoral Officer Anita Karwal said on Sunday.