A major day in country's political landscape shall unfold on Monday as counting of votes for the results of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly polls takes place to decide who forms the government in these two states.
While the BJP is aiming to hold on to its saffron bastion, Gujarat, for the sixth straight term, the Congress is aiming to stage a major upset after being in the opposition for over two decades. As per the exit polls, the BJP is heading towards a landslide victory in Himachal Pradesh thanks to the anti-incumbency against the ruling Congress.
As per political pundits, the Gujarat Assembly election is being considered as a prestige battle between Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his home state and newly elected Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
GUJARAT ASSEMBLY POLLS
Voting ended in 93 Assembly seats in North and Central Gujarat in the second and final phase of polling on 14 December amid reports of malfunctioning EVMs, clashes among party members and accusations of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) violations.
In Gujarat, counting of votes will be held at 37 centres across 37 districts of the state. An average of 68.41 percent polling was recorded in the two-phase of assembly elections, held on December 9 and December 14.
Political analysts believe the economic reforms that were undertaken by the BJP govt under PM Modi mainly demonetization and GST haven't gone down too well with a section of the voters who voted for the BJP in the name of development.
Chief Electoral Officer, Pushpender Rajput said three- tier security arrangements have been made at all counting centres. He said wire mesh barricading has been done at counting centers and there was a separate entry passage for counting staff and counting agents. Videography and CCTV coverage will be done in all counting centres.
In 2002, the BJP won 127 seats and got 44.81 per cent vote share, the highest ever while the Congress won 53 seats and got 35.28 per cent votes. In 2007, the BJP won 117 seats and 49 per cent vote share while the Congress won 59 seats with 39.63 per cent votes. In 2012, the BJP got 115 seats with 48.30 per cent while the Congress won 61 seats with 40.59 per cent. But, the party is confident of winning the most crucial election in political terms.
HIMACHAL PRADESH ASSEMBLY POLLS
Counting will also take place in Himachal Pradesh to decide the fate 337 candidates contesting for 68 assembly seats at 42 counting centers. The hill stat witnessed a record 75.28 per cent turnout and political pundits have predicted a BJP victory.
If one goes by history, Himachal has always witnessed a change in government after every election and going by the trend, this time it is the turn of the BJP which is upbeat after exit poll results. A turnout of 75.28 percent was recorded in the north Indian state when the state went to poll on November 9.
There are 25 Congress, 28 BJP and four Independent MLAs in the outgoing House while one seat was lying vacant after death of former minister Karan Singh from Banjar.