Ahmedabad: All eyes are riveted on Thursday's outcome of Gujarat Assembly polls which witnessed record turnout with pollsters predicting a third straight term in office for Narendra Modi.
Almost all major poll surveys have predicted a landslide victory for Modi. Speculations are already rife that hardline Hindutva leader may well be projected as BJP's prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 General Election if Modi manages to win by a landslide margin this time. If Modi wins this will be the fifth straight victory of the BJP in Gujarat.
According to the post-poll survey conducted by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) and seat projections by Chennai Mathematical Institute Director Rajeeva Karandikar, Modi will steamroll the opposition and become the Chief Minister of Gujarat once again.
The post-poll survey of 3755 persons at 239 locations in 60 constituencies in Gujarat shows that Modi is going to better the 2002 and 2007 results and win by a very handsome margin. While the BJP will have a vote percentage of 48, the party is going to win 129-141 seats (the party had won 117 in 2007 in the 182-member Assembly) with the Congress trailing far behind with 36 per cent of the votes and its worst show in the state with only 37 to 45 seats (the party had won 59 in 2007). The other smaller parties would garner 16 per cent of the votes and end up with 4 to 10 seats (others had won six seats which included three by the NCP, one by the JD(U) and two Independents in 2007).
In Gujarat, where 71.32 per cent voters cast their ballot, the counting will be held for all the 182 Assembly constituencies in the state, culminating the much-watched poll exercise which started on October four with the Election Commission announcing the poll schedule.
Polling was held in two phases on December 13 and 17, and the counting will begin at 8 am at 33 places in the state where 44,579 Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) have been kept in strong rooms under heavy security.
The Gujarat Assembly election was virtually a three-way fight with rebel BJP leader Keshubhai Patel, a former Chief Minister, launching his political outfit Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) months ahead of the polls and main Opposition Congress running a sustained and aggressive campaign against Modi. Congress had lost power in the key western state in 1990. Apart from the three main contenders, 33 other parties are also trying their luck at the hustings.
(With Additional Inputs From PTI)