Finally, the dates for Gujarat Assembly elections 2017 have been announced by the Election Commission and it will be conducted in two phases – first on December 9th and second on December 14th.

After much spitter-spatter about the delayed decision of Gujarat state assembly election date, the Election Commission has come up with a fixed date of political battle in the state of Gujarat – December 9 and 14. The election watchdog received much criticism because of the delay in deciding the dates of election in Gujarat and Opposition parties also alleged that the delayed schedule was to help the ruling party to sidestep rules and offer incentives to voters in the state. Which seems legitimate to certain extent because BJP-led Gujarat state government has just finished announcing a spree of sops and schemes for different sections of society including farmers, health workers and backward classes. And the very next day, the EC announced dates, something fishy there?

Anyway, this will be the first state elections in India which will use the VVPAT machines along with EVMs to ensure that voting machines aren’t tampered with. This step was taken after spat of criticism over the doubts that indicated that EVMs were technically messed up with. The elections will be conducted in two phases across the state of Gujarat – the first phase will be conducted in 89 constituencies of 19 districts and a total of 2.11 crore electors are expected to cast their votes. Whereas the second phase will consist of 93 constituencies from 14 districts and the counting for both phases will be done on December 18th. Also, CCTV cameras will be installed at critical polling booths in vulnerable areas, without violating the secrecy of voters, for extra security.

Elections in Gujarat this year, will be pretty intriguing because the result of this election is seen as a barometer of support for the PM and his political as well as economical tactics. And the resultant sputtering economy has handed the Opposition party, a possible opening to regain political ground in Gujarat. The elections in Modi’s homeland state, will be watched as signs of people’s reactions over the radical economic politics played by Modi, which has costed pretty high to all the businesses and economic status of common man. For Congress, the stakes in Gujarat have never been high because first, that the party VP Rahul Gandhi has been actively and effectively taken over the party and its campaigning in Gujarat. And then they have the most crucial support of Alpesh Thakor and his Koli community – which is the most populous community in the state, the aggravated Patidar community, GST side effects, failed demonetisation, huge anti-government protests by farmers at Narmada and protests in Surat.

8463