India holds final phase of polls in Modi's stronghold

22.2 million voters to choose chief minister, MPs in western Gujrat state

India holds final phase of polls in Modi's stronghold

World Bulletin / News Desk

Polls for the second and final phase of the assembly elections began on Thursday in the western Gujrat state, a stronghold of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Voters will choose representatives for the provincial assembly and subsequently the chief minister, where Modi's right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been in power for the last 22 years.

851 candidates are in the fray for 93 seats in the central and northern parts of Gujrat.

According to the election commission, 22.2 million people are eligible to vote in the final phase of the elections.

Modi cast his vote in the state capital Ahmedabad and waved his inked finger at a crowd which had gathered outside the polling station.

The Gujrat election is crucial for BJP ahead of national elections scheduled for 2019.

The opposition Congress party was led by president-elect Rahul Gandhi, part of India's oldest political dynasty, who is hoping to make a comeback in this important state.

His grandmother Indira Gandhi was India's only female prime minister and his great-grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru, led the country's independence movement from Britain.

Incidents of sporadic violence were reported by local media during the day.

Violent clashes were reported in Vakaner village of Savli, where miscreants set shops and vehicles on fire, according the Hindu newspaper.

In a separate incident, 10 people were injured in Hasanpur village in Mehsana district.

Government data said there was 29 percent voter turnout by noon.

The first phase of polls was held on 89 assembly constituencies in Saurashtra and south Gujrat regions on Dec. 9.

Last Mod: 14 Aralık 2017, 14:03
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