New Delhi/Ahmedabad: Campaigning for the second phase of Gujarat assembly elections scheduled for December 17 for the remaining 95 seats will come to an end on Saturday evening. Both the BJP and the Congress who have a lot at stake are campaigning extensively in the state.

Rahul Gandhi along with other Congress leaders will address an election rally in Bhuj while Chief Minister Narendra Modi will be holding five rallies in various districts.

Seventeen assembly constituencies in Ahmedabad, 13 in Vadodara and five in Gandhinagar are among the seats in the fray in the second phase. Polling for nine seats in Banaskantha, seven seats each in Mehsana, Sabarkantha, Panchmahals, Anand & Kheda, six each in Kutch and Dahod, as well as four seats in Patan will also take place on Monday. Narendra Modi, who is looking at a third consecutive term at the helm in Gujarat, is contesting from Ahmedabad's Maninagar seat. He is among the 820 candidates who will vie for a seat in the second phase.  Maninagar is a Modi stronghold and he has held this seat since 2002. In 2007, he defeated the Congress candidate by around 75,000 votes. This time, the Congress has fielded suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt’s wife Shweta Bhatt from Maninagar.

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Earlier on Friday both the Congress and the BJP held several election rallies and urged people to vote for them. Congress president Sonia Gandhi accused Narendra Modi of unnecessarily raking up Sir Creek issue for political gains. On the other hand Modi termed the issue vital for Gujarat. Both the leaders have been launching attacks and counter attacks on each other at poll rallies. Sonia Gandhi has often accused Modi government of misusing Central funds whereas, Modi has been criticizing the Congress for its wrong policies and the Walmart issue.

The polling for the first phase was held on December 13. A record 68 percent voter turnout was registered in the first phase polling. Counting of votes is slated for December 20.

A total of 1,666 candidates are in the fray for 182-member Gujarat Legislative Assembly. While the ruling BJP has fielded candidates on all the 182 Assembly constituencies, the Opposition Congress has given tickets to 181 candidates in alliance with the NCP.

(JPN/Bureau)

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