Gujarat election results 2017 LIVE: Counting underway, BJP leads in 34 seats, Congress in 8

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Ahmedabad: Counting of votes for Gujarat election results will begin at 8am today, in a conclusion to what is considered a prestige battle for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his home state and a litmus test for new Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

While the BJP is seeking a sixth straight term in office, the Congress is aiming to stage a comeback in power after being in the opposition for over two decades. The Gujarat election results are expected to have a bearing on the 2019 elections as Modi had come to power in 2014 based on the Gujarat “model of development”.

An average 68.41% polling was recorded in the two-phase Gujarat elections, a dip of 2.91% as compared to the 2012 polls. Here are the latest updates and developments of Gujarat election results:

■ The main contestants from the BJP are Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani (Rajkot West), deputy chief minister Nitin Patel (Mehsana) and state BJP unit president Jitu Vaghani (Bhavnagar West). The main contenders from the Congress are Shaktisinh Gohil (Mandvi), Arjun Modhvadia (Porbandar), Siddharth Patel (Dabhoi), and Paresh Dhanai (Amreli). OBC leader Alpesh Thakor, who joined the Congress ahead of polls is fighting from Radhanpur seat, while Dalit leader Jignesh Mewani is contesting from Vadgam.

In the 2012 polls, the BJP had won 115 seats and the Congress 61 seats, while others and independents had bagged six seats. (PTI)

■ At 8.22am, NDTV reports BJP leading in 34 seats, while the Congress is ahead in 8 seats.

■ At 8.13am, NDTV reports BJP leads in 14 seats, while the Congress is ahead on 2 seats. BJP leads in Deesa North, Anjar in Saurashtra and Dahegam North, it adds.

■ Surat police commissioner Satish Kumar Sharma to ANI: “Tight security arrangements have been made, police personnel adequately stationed across the region.”

■ First lead: BJP leads in Anjar, Saurashtra, reports NDTV. The saffron party also eads in Dahegam, North, reports the channel.

■ Counting of votes begins for Gujarat assembly elections with ballot boxes brought in at the EC centre in Ahmedabad, reports ANI. Officials at counting centre set up in Ahmedabad’s Gujarat College open ballot boxes as counting of votes begins.

■ Gujarat’s chief electoral officer B.B. Swain said, “The counting of votes will begin at 8am with counting of postal ballots. The counting of votes cast their Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) will commence at 8:30 am once postal ballots have been counted. Initial trends about the winners are likely to emerge within two hours of the counting, and a clear picture is expected by noon.”

The counting of votes will take place in 182 halls across the 37 counting centres. In each hall, there will be 14 tables for the counting.

“On each table, there will be once counting supervisor, one counting assistant, and one micro-observer. In addition, Election Commission has appointed one observer for each constituency,” he said.

As many as 10,000 counting staff and 8,000 support staff have been deployed for counting of votes. More than 25,000 security personnel will be on guard during counting of votes.

■ Supporters perform ‘Hawan’ outside Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s residence in Delhi ahead of counting of votes, set to begin shortly, reports ANI.

■ BJP office in Gandhinagar ahead of counting of votes for all 182 assembly seats in Gujarat elections.

■ Preparations on amid high security ahead of counting of votes at Surat. Counting of votes to start at 8am at 37 centres across the state’s 33 districts amid tight security.

■ 6.00 am: Counting of votes for Gujarat election results will begin at 8 am at 37 centres across the state’s 33 districts amid tight security.

■ Over 70% voter turnout in re-polling

More than 70% voter turnout was recorded in the re-polling held on Sunday at six polling booths in four constituencies of Gujarat, said officials. Following Election Commission’s directive, polling was held at two booths each in Vadgam and Savli constituencies and one each in Viramgam and Daskroi constituencies. While the Chhaniyana-1 and 2 booths of the Vadgam seat clocked a 74%and 73% voter turnout, respectively, booth number 27 in Viramgam recorded an 83% turnout, said Gujarat CEC B.B. Swain. Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani is contesting from the Vadgam (SC) seat as an Independent candidate supported by the Congress.

Earlier, Gujarat recorded an average 68.41% polling in the two-phase assembly elections, the Election Commission (EC) said on Friday.

■ EC withdraws notice to Rahul Gandhi over TV interviews

In a relief to Congress president Rahul Gandhi, the Election Commission (EC) on Sunday night withdrew its order against him over a prima facie violation of model code of conduct (MCC) on the grounds that he gave television interviews one day before second phase of Gujarat elections.

Additionally, the EC formed a committee to examine the provisions of Section 126 of Representation of People’s Act, which deals with prohibition of public meetings, displaying or propagating election-related matter 48 hours ending with hour fixed for conclusion of the poll.

■ EVM criticism due to fear of defeat: Nitish Kumar

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday said that EVMs have helped making elections “transparent and impartial” and those criticizing them were doing so out of the fear of defeat. Kumar’s observation came a day before the counting of votes for Himachal and Gujarat elections, and in the backdrop of allegations of EVM tampering in Gujarat to favour the BJP.

“Some may criticize the EVMs out of fear of defeat, but the EVMs have made elections transparent and impartial. Now, nobody can deprive anybody of the right to cast votes,” Kumar, who has predicted a comfortable majority for the BJP in Gujarat, tweeted in Hindi.