Poll campaign in Gujarat comes to an end
Dec 14, 2007, 13:07 GMT
Ahmedabad, Dec 14 (IANS) The campaigning for the second phase of the Gujarat assembly elections, which saw the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress trading charges on terrorism and security issues, came to an end Friday evening.
Central and north Gujarat will go to the polls in 95 assembly constituencies Sunday. Saurashtra, Kutch and south Gujarat voted Tuesday for 87 seats. The counting of votes will take place Dec 23.
On the last day of the campaign, senior leaders from both the main parties addressed a slew of rallies, including L.K. Advani, leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, and Rahul Gandhi, the young Congress MP who had a well-attended road show in central Gujarat.
While Advani and Chief Minister Narendra Modi for the BJP and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi for the opposition started the campaign debating economic development in Gujarat, it soon shifted to hurling accusations against each other over terrorism and communalism.
Both central and north Gujarat regions had seen large-scale communal violence in 2002 in the aftermath of the Godhra train burning tragedy. In the last elections later that year, the BJP had swept the central parts that have a sizeable tribal population and have been traditional Congress strongholds.
In the absence of an emotive issue this time, the Congress is hoping to regain this lost ground.
In north Gujarat the BJP had led the tally in 2002 and it hopes to do better his time too, as it is Modi's home turf.
Observers say farmers in the region are happy with the improvement in the water and power situation under the Modi regime in this predominantly rural belt.
© 2007 Indo-Asian News Service