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EC finally announces dates for Gujarat Assembly election 2017
Finally, the Election Commission of India on Wednesday announced the much awaited schedule of the two-phase Assembly elections for the state of Gujarat.

According to the press release of the Election Commission, the polls will be held in two phases across the state covering all 182 legislative seats. Opposition parties had been alleging that by delaying the announcement of elections in Gujarat, the Election Commission was providing time to the BJP-led ruling government of the state and the Union government for offering freebies to the electorate to get undue advantage.

The Chief Election Commissioner AK Joti today announced the election dates for Gujarat Assembly and enforced the model code of conduct. Joti informed the media that model code of conduct would be applicable with immediate effect.

In first phase of election on December 9, 2017, 89 seats of 19 districts will undergo polling whereas polling in the second phase will be held on December 14, 2017 covering 93 seats of 14 districts in which 4.33 crore voters of Gujarat will decide the fate of their state.

Poll process will commence in November, 2017 with the issuance of notification and filing of nomination for the first phase. Counting of votes would take place on December 18, 2017. All the EVMs will be attached with VVPAT leaving aside the fear of any mismanagement which had haunted the EC during the UP Assembly election 2017.

Some key aspects of the Gujarat Assembly elections 2017 as announced by the EC are:

  • Banks and FUI told to report suspicious transactions.

  • Candidates asked to open new bank accounts for election spending.

  • Ceiling of Rs 28 lakh fixed on each candidate for poll expenses.

  • 102 all-woman operation poll stations to be introduced.

  • All candidates have been asked to file affidavits.

  • Model code of conduct comes into immediate effect.

These Gujarat Assembly polls are going to be fought with an altogether different equation unlike previous elections as the Patidars (Patels) who were considered a solid vote bank for the BJP aren't happy with the saffron party. Led by young leader Hardik Patel, the Patidars have been agitating, demanding reservation. Moreover, the Dalits of Gujarat are also unhappy with the policies of the BJP-led ruling government. There has been a spurt in hate crimes particularly against minorities and Dalits in Gujarat in recent times including incidents related to cow vigilantism.

In short, Gujarat Assembly polls of 2017 won't be a walk in the park for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

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