Gujarat civic polls: Voting in six major cities including Ahmedabad on Sunday

AHMEDABAD: Voting in the civic polls in six major cities of Gujarat will be held between 7am and 5pm on Sunday amid tight security and adherence to COVID-19 norms, officials said.

The municipal corporation elections in Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Bhavnagar and Jamnagar are being seen as a test for Chief Minister Vijay Rupani as it may set the tone for the Assembly polls slated for next year.

Votes will be cast for a total of 575 seats with each ward having four corporators, and 2,276 candidates, comprising 577 from the BJP, 566 from the Congress, 470 from AAP, 91 from NCP, 353 from other parties and 228 Independents, are in the fray, officials informed.

“The total number of voters in the six cities stands at 1.14 crore, comprising 60.60 lakh men and 54.06 lakh women. Of the 11,121 polling booths, 2,255 are sensitive and 1,188 have been designated as very sensitive,” a poll official said.

Votes will be counted on February 23, following which, on February 28, polls to 31 district and 231 taluka panchayats, as well as 81 municipalities will be held, he added.

During the campaign, the BJP played the “development” card, while the Congress, which has been out of power in these local bodies for a long time now, cited “lack of amenities” and the recent fuel price hike to turn the tide.

The Aam Aadmi Party has claimed it would be an effective alternative to the BJP and Congress, while Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM will make its local bodies poll debut having fielded 21 candidates in six wards in Ahmedabad.

Rupani, who tested positive for coronavirus during the campaign, may be discharged from hospital later in the night and is likely to vote in his hometown Rajkot on Sunday.