Gujarat waits with bated breath for first poll results

December 23rd, 2007 - 9:31 am ICT by admin  

Ahmedabad, Dec.23 (ANI): Gujarat will wait with bated breath for the first result from the counting of votes, which is expected to be out by 10 a.m. on Sunday. Counting of votes cast in the two-phased electionscommenced at 8 a.m.this morning in 37 counting stations amidst tight security, with the Congress and the BJP locked in a virtual straight fight.Narendra ModiAll political parties are keeping their fingers crossed for an outcome that will alter the country’s political landscape in the months to come.

Both the Congress and the BJP have expressed confidence about emerging victorious, even as exit polls conducted by several television channels have predicted incumbent Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s return to power for a second consecutive term.

The exit polls, however, have said that Modi will return,but with a reduced majority. A hung Assembly is also not being ruled out. In the outgoing 182-member House, BJP and Congress had 127 seats and 51 respectively.

The Gujarat polls have for the first time attracted countrywide attention with Modi acquiring a larger than life image during what has been touted as a very acrimonious poll campaign,involving verbal slugfests between Modi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

Election Commission officials said all arrangements regarding the counting of votes have been completed.

Election Commission official A.H.Manek said that about, 8,000 polling and counting staff will be involved in the process.
“Every table will have a central government officer as an observer. After completion of each round of counting the observers will randomly select two EVMs and recheck the votes polled for party on those EVMs,” Manek said.

The commission has also developed a special software through which the data will be fed from the counting centres to its official website for public viewing, Manek said.
Who will win the battle for Gujarat is anybody’s guess, and pulses are beating between Gandhinagar and Delhi.

Modi’s journey is still not over, for it is being touted that while his immediate destination is the State Secretariat in Gandhinagar, his final frontier is New Delhi.

He is the one BJP leader who could pose a threat to L K Advani’s prime ministerial ambitions. According to a report appearing in a website, Advani knows that if Modi wins, his personal stature could get reduced within the Sangh Parivar.

It could realistically be a Rahul Gandhi-Narendra Modi face off five years, should Modi win on Sunday.

However, if Modi loses, the BJP will have a larger problem. It will have to revisit the definition of Hindutva and put on a totally different mask from being the party that got catapulted on the national political stage courtesy the Ram Mandir agitation and rath yatras.(ANI)

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