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Counting of votes for Guj polls today; crucial test for BJP


Counting of votes for the crucial local bodies polls in Gujarat, a litmus test for the ruling BJP against the backdrop of Patel quota agitation, will be conducted tomorrow. Voting for six municipal corporations was held on November 26, while that for 31 district panchayats, 230 taluka panchayats and 56 municipalities was held on November 29.

The six municipal corporations registered only 45 per cent voter turn-out, but elsewhere it was over 60 per cent. The State Election Commission had made all the preparations for the counting at several places across the state, officials said. The elections are being seen as a challenge for the BJP and the Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, as they come after the Patel quota stir. These are also the first major elections in the state after Anandiben took over from Narendra Modi. The Congress is hoping to make a comeback in the state, cashing in on resentment of the Patel community against BJP.

Patel leaders who are demanding inclusion in the OBC quota had appealed the community members to vote against BJP and for Congress ahead of the elections. All the six municipal corporations -- Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Jamnagar, and Bhavnagar -- are at present controlled by the BJP. Most of the other local bodies in rural and semi-urban areas too are controlled by the BJP. Meanwhile, the SEC today conducted re-polling at a booth each in Dahod and Mahisagar districts.

"Some people had stormed into a booth in Ghodiya village of Zalod tehsil in Dahod and broke the EVM machine when polling was underway for district and taluka panchayats last Sunday. Similar incident took place in Nani Bhugedi village of Santrampur in Mahisagar. So we are conducting repolling today," said SEC secretary M V Joshi. Ghodiya has 854 registered voters while Nani Bhugedi has 921 registered voters.

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