Gujarat Assembly Election 2017: PM Modi appealed to the people of Gujarat to vote in large numbers (File)

New Delhi:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to people of his home state Gujarat to vote in large numbers today in first phase of the state elections. The elections are viewed as a prestige battle for PM Modi and a litmus test for the leadership of soon-to-be Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.

PM Modi took to Twitter and said, “Phase 1 of Gujarat polls begin. Urging all those voting today to turnout in record numbers and vote. I particularly call upon youngsters to exercise their franchise.”

The polling in Gujarat for 89 of the 182 constituencies will begin at 8 am and will continue till 5 pm The elections are being held in two phases in the Prime Minister’s home state. The second phase comprises 93 seats in north and central Gujarat. Votes will be counted on December 18.

PM Modi and Rahul Gandhi, who is set be Congress chief, have led their parties in aggressive campaigns in the key state. PM Modi has pitched the Gujarat election as a battle between development and dynasty in his attacks on Rahul Gandhi, who has been elected unopposed to take over as Congress chief from his mother Sonia Gandhi.  

A poll of opinion polls, which aggregates three surveys, shows the BJP winning Gujarat again but by a smaller margin than last time.|

Saurashtra and Kutch have the maximum number of constituencies that vote in the first phase today and are seen as crucial. The party that wins the most seats in these regions will be seen to have a head start. Saurashtra, located on the Arabian Sea coast, covers 11 districts of the state.

Of the 58 seats in Saurashtra and Kutch, the BJP had won 35 in the 2012 Assembly polls and the Congress had won 20. Of the 35 seats spread across the seven districts of south Gujarat, the BJP had won 28 and the Congress six last time.

Courtesy of NDTV News