With Gujarat set to face the first round of polling on December 1, the State is home to some intensified campaigning, playing host to top leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
On Monday, the Prime Minister held rallies in Jamnagar and Palitana in Saurashtra and held meetings with Surat’s businessmen and diamond factory owners. The meeting assumed significance as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has trained its focus on a few Patidar-dominated seats in Surat city, challenging the BJP’s hold.
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On Sunday, too, the PM had a 27-km-long roadshow that culminated in a huge rally at Varachha Road, a constituency where the AAP has fielded a former Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Alpesh Kathiriya.
The Prime Minister, in his speech in Palitana and Jamnagar, continued to attack the Congress while exhorting the public to vote for the BJP to continue the development works the State government has initiated. He alleged that the erstwhile Congress government had stopped armed forces from taking action against terrorism due to the party’s vote bank politics, a charge he made in his poll speeches on Sunday as well.
Campaigning for the first phase of the election will end on Tuesday evening. As many as 89 seats of Saurashtra and South Gujarat region will go for voting in the first phase.
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From the ruling party, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who addressed election rallies in several places, on Tuesday told a presser that the Mr. Modi would win the third term as PM in 2024 with a thumping majority.
Doubling down on the 2002 communal riots, he said that the year 2002 laid the foundation of New Gujarat and it will continue to be a poll issue for next 50 years.
In a joint press conference with Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said, “This election has become important because BJP is doing false campaigning against the Congress and against Congress leaders. This election is the election of the people of Gujarat.”
Mr. Kharge and Mr. Gehlot also participated in a poll rally in Mehsana and Ahmedabad city.
The new entrant in State’s political arena, the AAP claimed that a stone was pelted at its convener Arvind Kejriwal’s roadshow in Surat on Monday. Both Mr. Kejriwal and his Punjab counterpart Bhagwant Mann are campaigning in Gujarat, addressing poll gatherings and leading roadshows in the seats that would go for polling on December 1.