Gujarat Assembly first phase poll campaigning ends today

Manmohan Singh

Campaigning for the first phase of Gujarat assembly elections has reached its peak as campaigning for this phase comes to an end this evening.

A total of 87 constituencies spread over 15 districts from Saurashtra and south regions of the state will go for poll on December 13.

Political fate of 846 candidates including 46 women, will be decided by over three crore, 80 lakh voters.

Adding glamour to campaigning, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has put several Gujarati film and TV artists to canvassing for party candidates.

Several Union Ministers, MPs and leaders from other states are already campaigning in different districts for party candidates. BSP supremo Mayawati also addressed an election rally at Rajkot.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh also campaigned in Gujarat. Addressing a rally in Vansada, Dr Singh appealed to the voters of Gujarat to get rid of politicians indulging in divisive politics.

"We don't indulge in politics of dividing the society like the opposition parties... Such politics cannot benefit any political party for a longer period. Time has come that you people should rid Gujarat of such politics and don't let such people come to power who try to get votes by dividing our society and country," he said.

However, rebutting Dr. Singh's charges, Modi accused him of playing votebank politics.

"The Prime Minister is playing votebank politics in the name of minority and majority (communities). It is sad that the Prime Minister of the country cannot rise above votebank politics," Modi said, addressing a rally in Valsad in south Gujarat on Sunday.

Narendra Modi, who is looking at a third consecutive term at the helm in Gujarat, is contesting from Ahmedabad's Maninagar seat. 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.

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