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Counting for Gujarat polls tomorrow

Counting of votes in the crucial assembly polls, witnessing a keen contest between the BJP and Cong begins on Sunday morning and all results expected by afternoon.

india Updated: Dec 14, 2002 08:58 IST

Counting of votes in the crucial assembly elections in Gujarat, witnessing a keen contest between the BJP and Congress begins on Sundaymorning and all results expected by afternoon.

Election Commission sources said counting for each constituency would be held separately and the entire process is expected to be completed by 1400 hours since Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) have been used throughout the state.

In all 181 assembly constituencies that went to polls on December 12 recording a 61.52 per cent voting with districts worst hit by post-Godhra communal riots registering 65 per cent of polling.

Election to the lone seat of Surat City (West) where polling has been countermanded following the death of BJP candidate and Minister of State for Law Hemant Chapatwala would be held on January 9.

Strict security arrangements have been made to ensure a smooth and peaceful counting which will be held in district headquarters all over the state.

Re-polling is being held on Saturday in 15 booths of seven assembly constituencies where the poll was either marred by stray violence or due to technical snags in EVMs.

The percentage of polling, held amidst unprecendented security arrangements was 61.70, slightly higher than 59.30 per cent polled in 1998 assembly elections.

The elections witnessed large turn out of voters in constituencies having sizeable minority population and which were worst-hit by the post-Godhra communal violence.

The assembly elections have proved to be a psephologist's nightmare as the opinion polls have varied widely and exit polls doubted by some poll pundits in view of the close contest between the two main contenders BJP and Congress.

Leaders of both the parties, including Modi and Vaghela, claimed after the polling that their parties would get a two-third majority.

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Deputy PM LK Advani, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and other top national leaders from both the parties participated in an acrimonious campaign for the polls whose outcome is expected to have a bearing on the Centre.

The by-election for Mehsana Lok Sabha seat was also held along with the assembly polls and the counting of votes in the by-poll would also be taken up on Sundaysimultaneously.

The fate of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as also several BJP ministers, Assembly Speaker Dhirubhai Shah, Congress leader and former Chief Minister Amarsinh Chaudhary, Mahendrasinh Vaghela, son of Gujarat PCC president Shankersinh Vaghela, who are among the prominent candidates in the fray, would be decided.

First Published: Dec 14, 2002 08:42 IST