Verdict Day: All eyes on Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh today

Verdict Day: All eyes on Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh today

Even though most exit polls favoured the BJP in both states, the Congress is confident of ending the BJP's 22-year rule in Gujarat and breaking the trend in Congress-ruled Himachal Pradesh where each Assembly election sees the Opposition coming to power.

The exit polls of VMR, C-voter, News X, India TV and CSDS had predicted a clean sweep for BJP in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections. Himachal Pradesh has set itself apart from other states by having alternating governments between the BJP and the Congress for 24 years.

If the Congress wins, it will be a sort of people's endorsement of Mr Gandhi's leadership of the party, and it will be great set back for the BJP and for the prime Minister individually ahead of the 2109 Lok Sabha elections.

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The 182-member Gujarat Assembly went to polls in two phases on the 9th and 14th of this month, while polling for 68 seats of Himachal Pradesh was held on the 9th of last month. These are the first Assembly elections in both states with 100 per cent VVPAT or papertrail coverage. The counting of votes for both states will take place on December 18. But after the results were out, it was a different one contrary to the predictions of exit polls. The leaders of three parties - the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the regional Janata Dal (Secular) - have begun their campaigns. But it is seen to lose 20 per cent Scheduled Caste votes since the 2012 assembly elections and 10 per cent Adivasi or tribal votes.

Joining hands with Patidar Anamat Aandolan Samiti (PASS) convener Hardik Patel, OBC leader Alpesh Thakor and Dalit leader Jignesh Mewani seems to have worked in favour of the Congress. The hill state recorded a record 75.28 per cent turnout in the November 9 election. The gap between the percentage of women and men who voted this year had widened to 8 per cent from 3 per cent in 2012.

"We detected that a wi-fi network was available near the strongroom (in the college), after which we asked the collector to take action", Mr Jariwala said.

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