Ahmedabad: Ninety-five seats will go for polling on Monday in the second and last phase of Gujarat Assembly elections in which 1.98 crore voters will decide the fate of 820 candidates including Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who is seeking his third term. Polling will take place in 40 constituencies in five districts of central Gujarat, on 32 seats in five districts of north Gujarat, 17 seats of Ahmedabad city area and on six seats in Kutch district.
After the impressive 70.75 per cent voting for the 87 seats in the first phase, Monday's polling has attained much more significance, particularly when apart from Modi many of his Cabinet colleagues are also facing the test of voters in the second phase. From Congress party, its senior-most leader and former chief minister Shankarsinh Vaghela, his son Mahendra Vaghela, former state Congress president Siddharth Patel, Shweta Bhatt (wife of suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt) are contesting the poll in this phase.
On Monday, voters will decide the fate of political bigwigs like state ministers Anandi Patel, Saurabh Patel, Jaynarayan Vyas, Ramanlal Vora, Praful Patel, Pradipsinh Jadeja and Fakir Vaghela. Former minister of state for home and accused in Tulsi Prajapati and Sohrabuddin Sheikh alleged fake encounter cases, Amit Shah will also be awaiting his fate following Monday's voting.
On Ellisbridge seat in Ahmedabad, Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) of Keshubhai Patel has given ticket to Jagruti Pandya, the wife of slain BJP leader and former minister of state for home Haren Pandya. For the second phase, BJP has fielded candidates on all 95 seats going to the poll, whereas Congress is contesting on 92 and GPP on 84 seats.
Apart from these three major parties, there are a total of 32 political parties and 284 independents in the fray. Voting will take place at 23,318 polling stations, for which the Election Commission has made elaborate security arrangements. "To ensure free and fair elections for the second phase, we have assigned duties to 7,256 micro-observers throughout the 12 districts where voting will take place on 95 seats," Chief Electoral Officer Anita Karwal said.