Gujarat Elections 2017: Polling To Be Held On 9 And 14 December, Counting On Dec 18

| October 25 , 2017 , 13:35 IST

Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, the Chief Election Commissioner of India AK Jyoti announced the election dates for the high stakes Gujarat polls, which will be taking place in two phases on 9 and 14 December. The counting of the results of both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections will take place on December 18.

"50,128 polling booths will be set up, VVPAT machines will be used in the polling," said Jyoti.

While the dates for the Himachal Pradesh polls, also being held this year, were announced on October 12, the Gujarat dates were not announced until October 25.

The Congress party has slammed the delay in announcing the poll dates, alleging that the delay was made so that Prime Minister Narendra Modi could unveil further initiatives and measure before the model code of conduct would become applicable.

When the Election Commission formally announces the dates of the polling, the 'model code of conduct' comes into place which bans the ruling party from using government machinery to lure voters by making any announcements or inaugurating projects.

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The Election Commission defended its delay in announcing the dates by saying that officials in Gujarat were still involved in flood relief work and the elections would impede the restoration work.

Over the past month, PM Modi has visited his home state of Gujarat thrice, inaugurating various projects, including the inauguration of the Roll-On Roll-Off (Ro-Ro) ferry, the first world-class ferry of its kind in the entire South Asia.

Meanwhile, Congress is also gearing up for the polls with Vice President Rahul Gandhi conducting roadshows and rallies in the state.

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The BJP was also accused of horse-trading by Patidar leader Narendra Patel who alleged that the party had offered him Rs 1 crore to join the BJP, out of which he had been given an advance of Rs 10 lakh.

Considering the relatively poor performance of the Congress in the 5 states that went to polls earlier in the year, winning in Gujarat, a stronghold of the BJP, will have great stakes.