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The Gujarat Assembly elections will be held in two phases on December 9 and 14, 2017, and the results will be announced on December 18. The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Wednesday enforced the Model Code of Conduct with immediate effect, and capped individual candidate expenditure at Rs 28 lakh. The tenure of the Gujarat Assembly expires in January 2018.
This election will be the first after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s three straight poll victories in the state. The incumbent party has ruled over the state since October 2001. After Prime Minister Narendra Modi resigned as chief minister in 2014, the party installed Anandiben Patel and later the incumbent Vijay Rupani.
In 2002, 2007 and 2012 state polls, BJP won 127, 117 and 115 seats in the 182-member Assembly. The principal Opposition Congress won 51, 59 and 61 seats in the last three elections. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will contest the polls for the first time as well. The party has laid down ground work for its grassroot units for a few years now and national convener Arvind Kejriwal’s proximity with Patidar leader Hardik Patel will be an interesting prospect to watch. The Janata Dal United has also maintained close proximity with Patel, who is seen as a massively influential character in the state now.
Anandiben Patel resigned after the Patidar and Dalit agitations in the state. The position was filled by Rupani.
The results of the Gujarat elections will be crucial for both the BJP and the Congress, as a run up to the 2019 General Elections.