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Election process set to begin in Gujarat
November 14, 2007 10:51 IST
The process for assembly elections in Gujarat, where an interesting battle between ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress is on the cards, will be set in motion on Thursday with notification for the 87 constituencies going to polls in the first phase on December 11.
The remaining 95 seats will go to polls on December 16.
The Election Commission has made elaborate arrangements to ensure free and fair polls. Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswamy and other two Election Commissioners Navin Chawla and S Y Quraishi made three visits to the state to oversee the arrangements.
The first phase of polling will cover Saurashtra and some tribal-dominated areas of the state.
Congress has been in political wilderness since the past 17 years in the state, also considered as BJP's Hindutva laboratory. While Chief Minister Narendra Modi is the star campaigner for BJP and the party's chief ministerial candidate, Congress has refrained from projecting anyone for the top post to avoid internal wrangling.
Modi had effortlessly shaken off a stiff Congress challenge in the previous polls in 2002 in the backdrop of the Godhra carnage and the communal violence that followed. This time Congress is banking on BJP rebels to make a dent into the saffron strongholds and has announced plans to go in for an alliance with like-minded parties for a united fight of secular forces against Modi.