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Gujarat

Modi poised for huge win in Gujarat, Congress wrests Himachal from BJP

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi appeared set for a third straight term in office as the Bharatiya Janata Party headed towards a huge win in the state but it lost Himachal Pradesh to the Congress as counting of votes progressed in the Assembly elections in both States today.

 
Counting begins in Gujarat, BJP secures early lead

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi appeared set for a third straight term in office as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headed towards a huge win in the state but it lost Himachal Pradesh to the Congress as counting of votes progressed in the Assembly elections in both states today.

As results and counting trends became available for all the 182 seats in the Gujarat Assembly, the BJP had won 52 and was leading in 65 others, making for a total of 117 seats, the same number that it has in the outgoing house.
 
The Congress had won 27 seats and was leading in 32 others. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), an ally of the Congress, had won two seats while the Janata Dal (United), an ally of the BJP, was leading in one constituency. Other parties were ahead in three seats.
 
Adding to the Congress' misery in Gujarat, its state unit chief Arjun Modhwadia and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Shaktisinh Gohil lost their seats.
 
In Himachal Pradesh, the ruling BJP conceded defeat as the Congress won 34 seats in the 68-member Assembly and was leading in two others. The BJP had won 23 and was ahead in another three, while others had won four and were leading in two more.
 
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal admitted his party had lost and congratulated the winners. He said the reasons for the BJP's defeat, despite his government's good record of governance, would be analysed at party fora in due course.
 
In Gujarat, Mr Modi retained his own seat, Maninagar, bagging 120440 votes against 34097 secured by his nearest rival, Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt.
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The controversial former Minister of State for Home, Mr Amit Shah of the BJP, won from Naranpura, garnering 103988 votes against the 40653 secured by his rival Jitubhai B Patel of the Congress.
 
In the Ellis Bridge constituency in Ahmedabad, Ms Jagruti Pandya, widow of assassinated former Minister of State for Home Haren Pandya, ended up in the third place. Ms Pandya, a candidate of the Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) floated by former Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, could muster only 9075 votes against Mr Raesh Shah of BJP, who got 106631 votes. Mr Kamleshkumar Shah of the Congress got 29959 votes.
 
Mr Modhwadia lost in Porbandar, getting only 60458 votes against the 77604 votes secured by Mr Babubhai Bokhiria of the BJP. Mr Gohil lost from Bhavnagar (Rural) to Mr Purshottam Solanki of the BJP. Mr Solanki got 83980 votes as against 65426 secured by Mr Gohil.
 
The BJP had won 117 seats in the Gujarat Assembly in the last elections in 2007, while the Congress had 59 seats.
 
Counting of votes began in both states at 0800 hours today and all the results are expected by this evening.
 
Elections to the 182-member Gujarat assembly were held in two phases on December 13 and 17, when a record 71.3 per cent of the 38 million voters had exercised their franchise.
 
Polling for the 68 seats in the Himachal Pradesh assembly was held in a single phase on November 4, and about 74.7 per cent of the 4.60 million voters had cast their votes.
 
The supporters of Mr Modi, who has been in office since 2001, are hoping that, with yet another big win, he would be propelled to the centrestage of national politics and become the BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
 
Exit polls had predicted a huge win for Mr Modi again this year, while they had given a slight edge in a close contest in Himachal Pradesh.
 
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Voting ends in Gujarat, exit polls give the state and HP to BJP

More than 68.70% of the electors exercised their franchise in the 93 constituencies that went to the polls on Thursday in the final phase of the elections to the Gujarat Legislative Assembly and exit polls gave the State as well as Himachal Pradesh, which voted on November 9, to the BJP.

 
More than 68.70 percent of the electors exercised their franchise in the 93 constituencies that went to the polls today in the second and final phase of the elections to the 182-member Gujarat Legislative Assembly and exit polls gave the State as well as Himachal Pradesh, which voted on November 9, to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
 
An average of the results of the exit polls telecast by various television channels soon after polling ended today gave 111 seats to the ruling BJP, which has been ruling the state for 22 years, and 70 to the Congress.
 
In Himachal Pradesh, where the Congress and the BJP have alternated in office every five years for a long time now, the polls gave 48 seats to the BJP in the 68-member House and 19 to the ruling Congress.
 
Counting of votes will be taken up in both states on December 18 and all the results are expected to be out by that evening, when people will know if the exit polls are correct. Some exit polls had turned out to be wide off the mark in the past.
 
A voter turnout of 66.75% had been recorded in the first phase of voting in 89 constituencies in Gujarat on December 9, adding up to a polling percentage of about 67.75% for the state as a whole. 
 
Polling, which  began at 8 am today and ended at 5 pm, was by and large peaceful, with no major untoward incidents reported from any of the 93 constituencies spread over Central and North Gujarat, including  the  key urban centres of Ahmedabad and Vadodara.
 
The Election Commission of India (ECI) and the state authorities had made elaborate arrangements to ensure a free and fair poll.
 
The 93 constituencies have a total electorate of 2.22 crore, including 1.15 crore men and 1.07 crore women. The total electorate in the state is 4.34 crore.
 
As many as 37.37 lakh of the voters in the 93 constituencies were in the 18-25 years age group, 80.91 lakh in the 26-40 years age group, 74.15 lakh in the 41-60 years age group and 30.51 lakh in the above 60 years age group.
 
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The Election Commission had set up 22,558 polling stations in the 93 constituencies and deployed 28,114 electronic voting machines (EVMs).
 
There were a total of 851 candidates, including 69 women, in the fray for the 93 seats. Mehsana had the largest number of candidates at 34, while Jhalod (ST) witnessed a straight contest between two candidates.
 
The ruling BJP had fielded candidates in all 93 constituencies while the Congress put up its nominees for 91 seats, leaving the remaining for its allies.
 
Among other parties, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) contested 75 seats, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) 28, the Shiv Sena 17, the Janata Dal (United) 14, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) 8, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) 3 and the Communist Party of India 1. There were also 350 independent candidates in the contest.
 
Campaigning in these 93 constituencies had ended on Tuesday evening, bringing the curtains down on more than three months of often bitter electioneering in the elections, whose results are certain to have a huge bearing on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
 
The elections are being seen as a crucial test of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity and the policies and programmes of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre and in Gujarat.
 
The elections are also the first major challenge for Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, who is all set to take over as the new president of the party on December 16.
 
Mr. Modi and Mr. Gandhi led a galaxy of leaders from their respective parties in the often-bitter campaign, addressing scores of meetings.
 
While the BJP made every effort to retain power in Gujarat, the Congress, which has been in the political wilderness in the state for more than two decades, made a determined bid to win this time, with Mr. Gandhi leading from the front.
 
The Congress was buoyed in its efforts by the support received from three popular youth leaders -- Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel, Dalit leader Jignesh Mewani and OBC leader Alpesh Thakore. While Mr. Thakore formally joined the party during the campaign and contested the election, Mr. Mewani was also in the fray as an independent candidate.
 
While the BJP has repeatedly said it would win at least 150 seats, a confident Mr. Gandhi asserted at a press conference in Ahmedabad on Tuesday that his party would score a big victory. 
 
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Adani Capital lends Rs. 100 crore to BSCPL Infrastructure Ltd.

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Adani Capital Pvt. Ltd., the non-banking financial company (NBFC) arm of infrastructure major Adani Group, today said it had made a structured investment of Rs. 100 crore into BSCPL Infrastructure Ltd.
 
BSCPL Infrastructure Ltd. Is a Hyderabad based EPC and development infrastructure company focussed primarily on the road sector.
 
“We have worked along with BSCPL to structure a solution that met their immediate and medium term requirements. Part of the funding would be retired out from the proceeds of a BOT asset sale which shall consummate post the completion of the project,” said Shamod Madanmohan, Executive Director, Adani Capital.
 
“The funding from Adani Capital has come in at an appropriate time, has aided in streamlining company’s operations, and has smoothened execution of the under construction projects. We look forward to building a long-term partnership with Adani Capital,” said Krishnaiah, Chairman, BSCPL Infrastructure Ltd.
 
Adani Capital, founded in 2016, marked Adani Group’s foray into the financial services business with a focus on wholesale and retail and rural financing. The firm has also initiated roll-out of retail branch network in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
 
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Polling begins for 93 seats in second phase of Gujarat Assembly elections

Polling began Thursday morning in 93 constituencies in the second phase of the elections to the 182-member Gujarat Legislative Assembly that is being seen as a crucial test of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity and the policies and programmes of the BJP government at the Centre and in the state.

 
Polling began this morning in 93 constituencies in the second and final phase of the elections to the 182-member Gujarat Legislative Assembly that is being seen as a crucial test of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity and the policies and programmes of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre and in the state.
 
Polling, which  began at 8 am, will end at 5 pm in these 93 constituencies which are spread over Central and North Gujarat, including  the  key urban centres of Ahmedabad and Vadodara.
 
The Election Commission of India (ECI) and the state authorities have made elaborate arrangements to ensure a free and fair poll.
 
The 93 constituencies have a total electorate of 2.22 crore, including 1.15 crore men and 1.07 crore women.
 
By area, Dariapur (6 sq km) is the smallest constituency, while Radhanpur (2,544 sq km) is the largest. By size of electorate, Limkheda with 1.87 lakh voters is the smallest constituency, while Ghatlodia with 3.52 lakh voters is the largest.
 
As many as 37.37 lakh of the voters in the 93 constituencies are in the 18-25 years age group, 80.91 lakh in the 26-40 years age group, 74.15 lakh in the 41-60 years age group and 30.51 lakh in the above 60 years age group.
 
The Election Commission has set up 22,558 polling stations in the 93 constituencies and deployed 28,114 electronic voting machines (EVMs).
 
There are a total of 851 candidates, including 69 women, in the fray for the 93 seats. Mehsana has the largest number of candidates at 34, while Jhalod (ST) will witness a straight contest between two candidates.
 
The ruling BJP has fielded candidates in all 93 constituencies while the Congress has put up its nominees for 91 seats, leaving the remaining for its allies.
 
Among other parties, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is contesting 75 seats, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) 28, the Shiv Sena 17, the Janata Dal (United) 14, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) 8, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) 3 and the Communist Party of India 1. There are also 350 independent candidates in the contest.
 
Campaigning in these 93 constituencies had ended on Tuesday evening, bringing the curtains down on more than three months of often bitter electioneering in the elections, whose results are certain to have a huge bearing on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
 
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The elections are also the first major challenge for Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, who is all set to take over as the new president of the party in the next few days.
 
The first phase of polling in 89 constituencies was held on December 9. Counting of votes will be taken up on December 18, along with the votes cast in Himachal Pradesh, where Assembly elections were held on November 9. All results are expected to be out by that evening.
 
Mr. Modi and Congress President-elect Rahul Gandhi led a galaxy of leaders from their respective parties in the often-bitter campaign, addressing scores of meetings.
 
While the BJP, which has ruled the state for 22 years, made every effort to retain power, the Congress, which has been in the political wilderness in the state for more than two decades, made a determined bid to win this time, with Mr. Gandhi leading from the front.
 
The Congress was buoyed in its efforts by the support received from three popular youth leaders -- Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel, Dalit leader Jignesh Mewani and OBC leader Alpesh Thakore. While Mr. Thakore formally joined the party during the campaign and is contesting the election, Mr. Mewani is also in the fray as an independent candidate.
 
While the BJP has repeatedly said it would win at least 150 seats, a confident Mr. Gandhi asserted at a press conference in Ahmedabad on Tuesday that his party would score a big victory. 
 
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93 constituencies to vote on Thursday in final phase of Gujarat Assembly polls

Polling will be held in 93 constituencies on Thursday in the final phase of the elections to the Gujarat Legislative Assembly which are being seen as a crucial test of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity and the policies and programmes of the BJP government at the Centre and in the state.

 
Polling will be held in 93 constituencies tomorrow in the second and final phase of the elections to the 182-member Gujarat Legislative Assembly that is being seen as a crucial test of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity and the policies and programmes of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre and in the state.
 
Campaigning in these 93 constituencies, spread over Central and North Gujarat, including the key urban centres of Ahmedabad and Vadodara, had ended yesterday evening, bringing the curtains down on more than three months of often bitter electioneering in the elections, whose results are certain to have a huge bearing on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
 
The elections are also the first major challenge for Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, who is all set to take over as the new president of the party in the next few days.
 
The first phase of polling in 89 constituencies was held on December 9. Counting of votes will be taken up on December 18, along with the votes cast in Himachal Pradesh, where Assembly elections were held on November 9. All results are expected to be out by that evening.
 
Mr. Modi and Congress President-elect Rahul Gandhi led a galaxy of leaders from their respective parties in the often-bitter campaign, addressing scores of meetings.
 
While the BJP, which has ruled the state for 22 years, made every effort to retain power, the Congress, which has been in the political wilderness in the state for more than two decades, made a determined bid to win this time, with Mr. Gandhi leading from the front.
 
The Congress was buoyed in its efforts by the support received from three popular youth leaders -- Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel, Dalit leader Jignesh Mewani and OBC leader Alpesh Thakore. While Mr. Thakore formally joined the party during the campaign and is contesting the election, Mr. Mewani is also in the fray as an independent candidate.
 
While the BJP has repeatedly said it would win at least 150 seats, a confident Mr. Gandhi asserted at a press conference in Ahmedabad yesterday that his party would score a big victory. 
 
Polling will begin at 8 am tomorrow and end at 5 pm. The Election Commission of India (ECI) and the state authorities have made elaborate arrangements to ensure a free and fair poll.
 
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The 93 constituencies have a total electorate of 2.22 crore, including 1.15 crore men and 1.07 crore women.
 
By area, Dariapur (6 sq km) is the smallest constituency, while Radhanpur (2,544 sq km) is the largest. By size of electorate, Limkheda with 1.87 lakh voters is the smallest constituency, while Ghatlodia with 3.52 lakh voters is the largest.
 
As many as 37.37 lakh of the voters in the 93 constituencies are in the 18-25 years age group, 80.91 lakh in the 26-40 years age group, 74.15 lakh in the 41-60 years age group and 30.51 lakh in the above 60 years age group.
 
The Election Commission has set up 22,558 polling stations in the 93 constituencies and deployed 28,114 electronic voting machines (EVMs).
 
There are a total of 851 candidates, including 69 women, in the fray for the 93 seats. Mehsana has the largest number of candidates at 34, while Jhalod (ST) will witness a straight contest between two candidates.
 
The ruling BJP has fielded candidates in all 93 constituencies while the Congress has put up its nominees for 91 seats, leaving the remaining for its allies.
 
Among other parties, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is contesting 75 seats, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) 28, the Shiv Sena 17, the Janata Dal (United) 14, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) 8, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) 3 and the Communist Party of India 1. There are also 350 independent candidates in the contest.
 
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As Gujarat campaign ends, Modi says BJP victory would "guarantee bright future" for State

 
Modi flies by seaplane from Sabarmati river to Ambaji temple
As campaigning for the second and final phase of polling in the Gujarat Assembly elections drew to a close this evening, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said a victory for his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was a "guarantee for a bright future" for the State.
 
In a series of posts on his Twitter page, he urged the people of Gujarat to vote in record numbers in the second round of voting on December 14. The first phase of polling was held on December 9.
 
"I call upon the people of Gujarat to not only give the BJP an overwhelming majority but also ensure that BJP wins in every polling booth across the state.
 
"No Gujarati will let go off a golden opportunity of development of our youth and coming generations. Victory of BJP is a guarantee for a bright future," he said.
 
"I am devoting my life for the betterment of crores of people of Gujarat and India. Have been fortunate to always get your blessings. I am sure you will continue to bless us in these elections too by voting for BJP," he said.
 
"With the Government of India and Government of Gujarat working together, the strength rises manifold. This 1+ 1 is not 2 but 11 and together we will take Gujarat to new heights," Mr. Modi said.
 
"The lies that our worthy opponents have spread, about Gujarat, Gujarat’s growth and about me personally is something I had never imagined. It is natural for every Gujarati to feel hurt. People of Gujarat will give a fitting reply to the negativity and lies of the opposition," he said.
 
"Campaigning for the Gujarat Assembly Elections 2017 ends. After three and a half years, I got the honour to travel across the length and breadth of Gujarat to seek the blessings of the people," Mr. Modi said.
 
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"During my travels across Gujarat, the level of affection I have received from the people is unparalleled in my 40 years of public life. This affection gives me strength and motivates me to devote all my time for India’s development," he added.
 
Earlier in the day, Mr. Modi flew in a seaplane from the Sabarmati river here to Dharoi dam in Mehsana district and then drove from there to the famous Ambaji Temple in Banaskantha district, where he offered prayers.
 
In the temple town, Mr. Modi was greeted by people, who had lined up on both sides of the road.
 
"Earlier today, I travelled on a sea plane from Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati River to Dharoi Dam, taking off and landing on water. This experience was unique. It adds strength to our resolve to harness waterways for India’s progress," he said on Twitter.
 
"Effective use of waterways augurs well for tourism. Places like Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, our vibrant North East, places with many water bodies, big dams, waterways will benefit with usage of sea planes. More tourism also brings greater economic opportunities.
 
"Sea plane services can also be helpful during times of medical emergencies. Those needing even quicker access to medical care and those living in remote areas stand to gain a lot," he added.
 
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Rahul Gandhi says Modi's remarks against Manmohan Singh also "unacceptable"

Congress President-elect Rahul Gandhi addressing a press conference in Ahmedabad on December 12, 2017
Congress President-elect Rahul Gandhi addressing a press conference in Ahmedabad on December 12, 2017
Congress President-elect Rahul Gandhi today asserted once again that he would not tolerate insulting language against Prime Minister Narendra Modi by any  of his colleagues but pointed out that the remarks made by Mr. Modi against former Prime Minister and senior Congress leader Manmohan Singh were equally unacceptable.
 
"My position on this is very cllear. The way Mani Shankar Aiyar ji talked about the Prime Minister of India is unacceptable. He is Modiji, but he is also the Prime Minister of India. I have made it clear. I will not tolerate this. You have seen the action," he said at a press conference here on the last day of campaigning for the elections to the 182-member Gujarat Legislative Assembly.
 
Mr. Aiyar, a former Union Minister, was asked by Mr. Gandhi to apologise for his remarks and he was later placed under suspension from the primary membership of the party.
 
"The way Narendra Modi ji has talked about Manmohan Singh ji, that also is not acceptable. Dr. Manmohan Singh has served as Prime Minister of India and has made sacrifices for the nation. So the way Narendra Modi ji has spoke about him, that is also not acceptable," he said.
 
Mr. Gandhi, who is slated to take over as the new President of the 132-year-old Congress in the next few days, said his party would score a big win in the elections. "You will see 'zabardast' results," he said.
 
He said he and his colleagues had, in the past three or four months, travelled thousands of kilometres across the state, met all sections of people -- farmers, labourers, ASHAs, Anganwadi workers, youth, teachers and small businessmen -- and drawn up a "robust" vision for Gujarat with the help of former Telecom Commission Chairman Sam Pitroda and others.
 
He said that his party's main argument in the elections had been that, in the last 22 years, Mr. Modi, who was Chief Minister of Gujarat for 12 years before becoming Prime Minister and Mr. Vijay Rupani, the current Chief Minister, had presided over "one-sided" development, in which "five-six" industrialists got all the benefits and the people of the State did not get the benefits they should have.
 
Mr. Gandhi said that this is also what the people of the State told them. He said 90 percent of the colleges in the state were privatised, the private sector hospitals were out of the reach of the common man, and huge benefits were given to the industry while farmers were denied fair prices for their produce.
 
He said the BJP could not talk about development during the campaign and the biggest sign of its desperation was how Mr. Modi focused on the Congress and on himself in the last days of electioneering.
 
He also said that Mr. Modi remained totally silent on corruption and had not answered questions raised about the business of BJP President Amit Shah's son Jay Shah or the Rafale deal with France. He said there was also no mention in his speeches of education, healthcare, farmers and so on.
 
To questions about his visits to temples across the state during the campaign, which led to allegations that his party was practising "soft Hindutva", he said this was because he had travelled by road this time, and wherever there was a temple on the route, he visited it. "Is it forbidden to visit temples?" he asked.
 
He also pointed out that he regularly visited temples and had trekked kilometres to visit Kedarnath Temple in Uttarakhand.
 
To another query, he said he had prayed for the "golden future" of the people of the state. "I prayed for a good future for the youth and the farmers of the state," he said.
 
Mr. Gandhi said that the Congress, if voted to power in Gujarat, would work for the balanced development of the state. He said there would be particular focus on areas such as agriculture, including the waiver of farm loans, education, healthcare, jobs and so on. In healthcare, the party has promised to provide free medicines on the lines of a similar scheme its government in Rajasthan had introduced some years ago.
 
He also promised support for small shopkeepers and traders, many of whom were hit badly by the demonetisation and the Goods and Service Tax (GST).
 
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Mr. Gandhi said the Congress would also ensure that fixed pay and contract employment in the education sector was ended. He said he was touched by the anguish voiced by a lady teacher in this regard at one of his interactions in the State.
 
Asked how the party would implement some "difficult" promises such as higher prices for farm produce, he said it all depended on the "intention". He said the Congress intended to fulfill all its promises, and had a record in this matter.
 
Mr. Gandhi accused Mr. Modi of running away from issues like corruption and said the Government had postponed the Winter Session of Parliament because it did not want to face debates on the Jay Shah and Rafale issues, among others.
 
He denied allegations that the Congress had fanned casteism during the election campaign, and said that, if elected, the party would carry forward everyone together. He said every section in Gujarat was agitated about the lack of development.
 
Asked about Mr. Modi's seaplane flight today, Mr. Gandhi described it as just a "political distraction". He said the real question was whether the BJP government in Gujarat had delivered on development in the state.
 
He said the kind of love and adulation he had received from people across the state during the campaign was something he would never forget in his life. "I told them that if they ever need me, whenever you call, I will be there," he added.
 
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Campaigning ends for second and final phase of Gujarat Assembly elections

Campaigning came to an end on Tuesday evening in 93 constituencies that will go to the polls on December 14 in the second and final phase of polling in the keenly contested elections to the 182-member Gujarat Legislative Assembly.

 
Campaigning came to an end this evening in 93 constituencies that will go to the polls on December 14 in the second and final phase of polling in the keenly  contested elections to the 182-member Gujarat Legislative Assembly that have become a crucial test of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity and the policies and programmes of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre and in the state.
 
With this, the curtains have come down on more than three months of often bitter electioneering in the elections, whose results are certain to have a huge bearing on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
 
The elections are also the first major challenge for Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, who is all set to take over as the new president of the party in the next few days.
 
The first phase of polling in 89 constituencies was held on December 9. Counting of votes will be taken up on December 18, along with the votes cast in Himachal Pradesh, where Assembly elections were held on November 9. All results are expected to be out by that evening.
 
On the last day campaigning today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a seaplane from the Sabarmati river in Ahmedabad to the Ambaji temple in the state to highlight the development that he claims 22 years of BJP rule have brought to the state.
 
Congress President-elect Rahul Gandhi also visited a temple in the city and later addressed a press conference here, at which he brushed aside Mr. Modi's plane ride as "political distraction" and attacked the Prime Minister for ignoring issues affecting the common man in the state and remaining silent on allegations of corruption.
 
Senior leaders of both parties, who are the main players in the contest, criss-crossed the constituencies going to the polls tomorrow to garner last-minute support for their candidates. While the BJP is trying hard to retain power, the Congress, which has been in the political wilderness in the state for more than two decades, is making a determined bid to win, with Mr. Gandhi leading from the front.
 
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Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel, who has aligned with the Congress in these elections, held a road show in Vadodara today after a similar show of strength in Ahmedabad yesterday.
 
While the BJP has repeatedly said it would win at least 150 seats, a confident Mr. Gandhi asserted at his press conference that his party would score a big victory. 
 
The 93 constituencies have a total electorate of 2.22 crore, including 1.15 crore men and 1.07 crore women.
 
By area, Dariapur (6 sq km) is the smallest constituency, while Radhanpur (2,544 sq km) is the largest. By size of electorate, Limkheda with 1.87 lakh voters is the smallest constituency, while Ghatlodia with 3.52 lakh voters is the largest.
 
As many as 37.37 lakh of the voters in the 93 constituencies are in the 18-25 years age group, 80.91 lakh in the 26-40 years age group, 74.15 lakh in the 41-60 years age group and 30.51 lakh in the above 60 years age group.
 
The Election Commission has set up 22,558 polling stations in the 93 constituencies and deployed 28,114 electronic voting machines (EVMs).
 
There are a total of 851 candidates, including 69 women, in the fray for the 93 seats. Mehsana has the largest number of candidates at 34, while Jhalod (ST) will witness a straight contest between two candidates.
 
The ruling BJP has fielded candidates in all 93 constituencies while the Congress has put up its nominees for 91 seats, leaving the remaining for its allies.
 
Among other parties, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is contesting 75 seats, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) 28, the Shiv Sena 17, the Janata Dal (United) 14, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) 8, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) 3 and the Communist Party of India 1. There are also 350 independent candidates in the contest.
 
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DRI officials seize Rs. 50 crore of demonetised currency notes from Bharuch in Gujarat

Officials of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) raided the office premises of a company in Bharuch, Gujarat and seized about Rs. 49.81 crore of demonetised currency in Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 denomination notes.
 
Acting on specific intelligence inputs, the DRI officers from Surat, assisted by officers of CGST Vadodara, raided the premises of Yamuna Building Material in GIDC Panoli, Bharuch and recovered the currency  notes yesterday and today, the Ministry of Finance said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
"In the instant case, with the demonetised currency detected by DRI to be of the order of about Rs 49 crores,the fine is expected to touch about Rs. 245 crores. The persons whose names appear in investigations will also be probed. Therefore, the ramifications can be wide & far reaching," it said.
 
"DRI is filing a complaint in the court against the three (3) persons involved. The various details are with DRI now and are a matter of investigation," it added.
 
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68% turnout in 89 constituencies in first phase of Gujarat Assembly polls

More than 68 percent of the electorate turned out to exercise their franchise in the polling for 89 seats in the first phase of the crucial elections to the 182-member Gujarat Legislative Assembly on Saturday.

 
68% voting in Phase I of Gujarat Assembly polls
More than 68 percent of the electorate turned out to exercise their franchise in the polling for 89 seats in the first phase of the crucial elections to the 182-member Gujarat Legislative Assembly today.
 
The elections are being seen as a major test of the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was earlier the Chief Minister of the State for more than 12 years, and of the policies and programmes of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) governments at the Centre and in the State.
 
The elections are also the first major challenge for Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, who is all set to take over as the new president of the party in the next few days.
 
The elections have become a keenly-contested affair, with the Congress under Mr. Gandhi making a determined bid to wrest power from the BJP, which has been in power for 22 years.
 
Voting, which began at 8 am and ended at 5 pm, passed off peacefully without any major untoward incident, Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha told journalists in New Delhi.
 
He said the final voting percentage would be a little higher because there were long queues of voters outside many polling stations at 5 pm and the final polling figures would be available only later this evening.
 
The 89 constituencies that went to the polls are spread over 19 districts in the Kutch, Saurashtra and South Gujarat regions of the state. Campaigning for these seats had ended on Thursday evening.
 
These constituencies had recorded 70.75% polling in the last Assembly elections in 2012.
 
Among the 19 districts, the highest polling percentage was recorded at 75 percent in Morbi and Navsari, followed by 73 percent in Narmada and Tapi districts.
 
The voting percentage in other districts was as follows: Kutch 63%, Surendranagar 65%, Rajkot 70%, Junagadh 65%, Devbhumi Dwarka 63%, Porbandar 60%, Junagadh 65%, Gir Somnath 70%, Amreli 67%, Bhavnagar 62%, Botad 60%, Bharuch 71%, Surat 70%, Dangs 70% and Valsad 70%.
 
The 89 constituencies have a total electorate of 2.12 crore, including 1.11 crore men and 1.01 crore women.
 
Among the voters, there are 35.29 lakh in the 18-25 years age group, 78.68 lakh in the 26-40 age group, 70.31 lakh in the 41-60 age group and 28.01 lakh in the over 60 age group.
 
There were a total of 977 candidates, including 58 women, in the fray in the 89 constituencies. Jamnagar Rural had the highest number of candidates at 27, while Jhagadia (ST) and Gandevi (ST) had the least at three each.
 
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The ruling BJP fielded candidates in all 89 constituencies, while the Congress put up its nominees in 87, leaving the remaining two for its allies. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) contested 64 seats, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) 30, the Shiv Sena 25, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) 21 and  the Janata Dal (United) 14. There were also 443 independent candidates.
 
Prominent candidates whose electoral fate was decided today include Chief Minister Vijay Rupani who faces Indranil Rajyaguru of the Congress in Rajkot (West) and Congress leaders Shaktisinh Gohil (Mandvi) and Paresh Dhanani (Amreli).
 
The Election Commission of India (ECI) had deployed 27,158 electronic voting machines (EVMs) at 24,689 polling stations in the first phase of voting.
 
The ECI and the state authorities had made  arrangements to ensure a free and fair poll. Tight security arrangements are in place and more than 1.74 lakh police personnel have been deployed to maintain order during the polls.
 
The ECI had deployed 57 general observers, 39 expenditure observers and 31 police observers in these 89 constituencies.
 
The Commission said it had put in place an elaborate framework of administrative system, security protocols and procedural checks-and-balances in Gujarat, which prevent any possible misuse of the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and Voter Verifitable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) units or procedural lapses in their use.
 
"These safeguards are being implemented by ECI, in total transparency, with the active and documented involvement of political parties, candidates and their representatives at every stage, so as to build their confidence on efficacy and reliability of EVMs and VVPATs. All these functions and procedures are implemented through the District Election Officers (DEOs), Returning Officers (ROs), Assistant Returning Officers (AROs) and other election related officers concerned, who are on deemed deputation to the ECI and are under its superintendence, direction and control," an ECI press release said.
 
In order to provide 100% voter verifiability and auditability of every vote cast through the EVM, the Commission said it had deployed VVPAT machines in all the 50,128 polling stations in Gujarat, excluding Auxiliary Polling Stations. In the VVPAT machine, a paper slip is generated bearing the name and symbol of the candidate to whom the vote has been cast and remains visible to the voter through a transparent window for 7 seconds. 
 
"Thus, the VVPAT enables the voter to verify instantly that the vote cast by him has been recorded correctly in favour of the candidate of his choice, thereby injecting greater transparency and credibility to the whole voting process," it said.
 
The second and final phase of polling will be held on December 14 and counting of votes will be taken up on December 18, along with Himachal Pradesh, where polling was held on November 9.
 
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Polling begins for 89 seats in first phase of Gujarat Assembly polls

Polling began this morning for 89 seats in the first phase of the crucial elections to the 182-member Gujarat Legislative Assembly which have become a major test of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity and the policies and programmes of the BJP governments at the Centre and in the state.

 
Voting begins for Phase I of Gujarat Assembly polls
Polling began this morning for 89 seats in the first phase of the crucial elections to the 182-member Gujarat Legislative Assembly which have become a major test of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity and the policies and programmes of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) governments at the Centre and in the state.
 
The elections are also the first major challenge for Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, who is all set to take over as the new president of the party in the next few days.
 
Voting began at 8 am and will end at 5 pm, and long queues of voters, including women and many first-time voters, were seen outside many polling stations.
 
The 89 constituencies are spread over the Kutch, Saurashtra and South Gujarat regions of the state. Campaigning for these seats had ended on Thursday evening.
 
The 89 constituencies have a total electorate of 2.12 crore, including 1.11 crore men and 1.01 crore women.
 
Among the voters, there are 35.29 lakh in the 18-25 years age group, 78.68 lakh in the 26-40 age group, 70.31 lakh in the 41-60 age group and 28.01 lakh in the over 60 age group.
 
There are a total of 977 candidates, including 57 women, in the fray in the 89 constituencies. Jamnagar Rural has the highest number of candidates at 27, while Jhagadia (ST) and Gandevi (ST) have the least at three each.
 
The ruling BJP has fielded candidates in all 89 constituencies, while the Congress has put up its nominees in 87. The Bahujan Samaj Party is contesting 64 seats, the Nationalist Congress Party 30, the Shiv Sena 25, the Aam Aadmi Party 21 and  the Janata Dal (United) 14. There are also 443 independent candidates.
 
Prominent candidates whose electoral fate will be decided on Saturday include Chief Minister Vijay Rupani who faces Indranil Rajyaguru of the Congress in Rajkot (West) and Congress leaders Shaktisinh Gohil (Mandvi) and Paresh Dhanani (Amreli).
 
A press release from the Election Commission of India (ECI) said 27,158 electronic voting machines (EVMs) will be set up at 24,689 polling stations in the first phase of voting.
 
The ECI and the state authorities have made  arrangements to ensure a free and fair poll. Tight security arrangements are in place and more than 1.74 lakh police personnel have been deployed to maintain order during the polls.
 
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The Commission said it had put in place an elaborate framework of administrative system, security protocols and procedural checks-and-balances in Gujarat, which prevent any possible misuse of the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and Voter Verifitable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) units or procedural lapses in their use.
 
"These safeguards are being implemented by ECI, in total transparency, with the active and documented involvement of political parties, candidates and their representatives at every stage, so as to build their confidence on efficacy and reliability of EVMs and VVPATs. All these functions and procedures are implemented through the District Election Officers (DEOs), Returning Officers (ROs), Assistant Returning Officers (AROs) and other election related officers concerned, who are on deemed deputation to the ECI and are under its superintendence, direction and control," an ECI press release said.
 
In order to provide 100% voter verifiability and auditability of every vote cast through the EVM, the Commission said it had deployed VVPAT machines in all the 50,128 polling stations in Gujarat, excluding Auxiliary Polling Stations. In the VVPAT machine, a paper slip is generated bearing the name and symbol of the candidate to whom the vote has been cast and remains visible to the voter through a transparent window for 7 seconds. 
 
"Thus, the VVPAT enables the voter to verify instantly that the vote cast by him has been recorded correctly in favour of the candidate of his choice, thereby injecting greater transparency and credibility to the whole voting process," it said.
 
The second and final phase of polling will be held on December 14 and counting of votes will be taken up on December 18, along with Himachal Pradesh, where polling was held on November 9.
 
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First phase of polling in Gujarat Assembly elections to be held on Saturday

Polling will be held Saturday for 89 seats in the first phase of the crucial elections to the 182-member Gujarat Legislative Assembly tomorrow which have become a major test of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity and the policies and programmes of the BJP governments at the Centre and in the state.

Polling officials checking electronic voting machines (EVMs) and other necessary inputs required for the Gujarat Assembly Election, at the distribution centre, at Athawa Gate Line, in Surat, Gujarat on December 8, 2017.
Polling officials checking electronic voting machines (EVMs) and other necessary inputs required for the Gujarat Assembly Election, at the distribution centre, at Athawa Gate Line, in Surat, Gujarat on December 8, 2017.
Polling will be held tomorrow for 89 seats in the first phase of the crucial elections to the 182-member Gujarat Legislative Assembly tomorrow which have become a major test of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity and the policies and programmes of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) governments at the Centre and in the state.
 
The elections are also the first major challenge for Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, who is all set to take over as the new president of the party in the next few days.
 
The 89 constituencies are spread over the Kutch, Saurashtra and South Gujarat regions of the state. Campaigning for these seats had ended yesterday evening.
 
Polling will begin at 8 am and will end at 5 pm. The 89 constituencies have a total electorate of 2.12 crore, including 1.11 crore men and 1.01 crore women.
 
Among the voters, there are 35.29 lakh in the 18-25 years age group, 78.68 lakh in the 26-40 age group, 70.31 lakh in the 41-60 age group and 28.01 lakh in the over 60 age group.
 
There are a total of 977 candidates, including 57 women, in the fray in the 89 constituencies. Jamnagar Rural has the highest number of candidates at 27, while Jhagadia (ST) and Gandevi (ST) have the least at three each.
 
The ruling BJP has fielded candidates in all 89 constituencies, while the Congress has put up its nominees in 87. The Bahujan Samaj Party is contesting 64 seats, the Nationalist Congress Party 30, the Shiv Sena 25, the Aam Aadmi Party 21 and  the Janata Dal (United) 14. There are also 443 independent candidates.
 
Prominent candidates whose electoral fate will be decided on Saturday include Chief Minister Vijay Rupani who faces Indranil Rajyaguru of the Congress in Rajkot (West) and Congress leaders Shaktisinh Gohil (Mandvi) and Paresh Dhanani (Amreli).
 
A press release from the Election Commission of India (ECI) said 27,158 electronic voting machines (EVMs) will be set up at 24,689 polling stations in the first phase of voting.
 
The second and final phase of polling will be held on December 14 and counting of votes will be taken up on December 18, along with Himachal Pradesh, where polling was held on November 9.
 
Meanwhile, Mr. Modi and Mr. Gandhi and other leaders of their parties continued their campaign today in the constituencies that will go to the polls on December 14.
 
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The ECI and the state authorities have made  arrangements to ensure a free and fair poll. Tight security arrangements are in place and more than 1.74 lakh police personnel have been deployed to maintain order during the polls.
 
The Commission said it had put in place an elaborate framework of administrative system, security protocols and procedural checks-and-balances in Gujarat, which prevent any possible misuse of the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and Voter Verifitable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) units or procedural lapses in their use.
 
"These safeguards are being implemented by ECI, in total transparency, with the active and documented involvement of political parties, candidates and their representatives at every stage, so as to build their confidence on efficacy and reliability of EVMs and VVPATs. All these functions and procedures are implemented through the District Election Officers (DEOs), Returning Officers (ROs), Assistant Returning Officers (AROs) and other election related officers concerned, who are on deemed deputation to the ECI and are under its superintendence, direction and control," an ECI press release said.
 
In order to provide 100% voter verifiability and auditability of every vote cast through the EVM, the Commission said it had deployed VVPAT machines in all the 50,128 polling stations in Gujarat, excluding Auxiliary Polling Stations. In the VVPAT machine, a paper slip is generated bearing the name and symbol of the candidate to whom the vote has been cast and remains visible to the voter through a transparent window for 7 seconds. 
 
"Thus, the VVPAT enables the voter to verify instantly that the vote cast by him has been recorded correctly in favour of the candidate of his choice, thereby injecting greater transparency and credibility to the whole voting process," it said.
 
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Campaigning ends for 89 seats in first phase of Gujarat Assembly polls

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Campaigning came to an end this evening in 89 constituencies that will go to the polls on December 9 in the keenly contested elections to the 182-member Gujarat Legislative Assembly that has become a crucial test of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity and the policies and programmes of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre and in the state.
 
The last day of campaigning for the 89 seats saw campaigning by Mr. Modi, BJP President Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanand and other senior BJP leaders.
 
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi cancelled his election rallies scheduled for the last two days because of the cyclone Ockhi, but former Prime Minister Manmohan held a press conference in Rajkot and other Congress leaders, including Mr. Ahmed Patel, Political Secretary to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, campaigned in various parts of the state.
 
Polling will be held in the 89 constituences from 8 am to 5 pm on December 9. These constituencies, spread over Saurashtra and South Gujarat, have a total electorate of 2.12 crore, including 1.11 crore men and 1.01 crore women.
 
Among the voters, there are 35.29 lakh in the 18-25 years age group, 78.68 lakh in the 26-40 age group, 70.31 lakh in the 41-60 age group and 28.01 lakh in the over 60 age group.
 
A press release from the Election Commission said 27,158 electronic voting machines (EVMs) will be set up at 24,689 polling stations in the first phase of voting.
 
There are a total of 977 candidates, including 57 women, in the fray in the 89 constituencies. Jamnagar Rural has the highest number of candidates at 27, while Jhagadia (ST) and Gandevi (ST) have the least at three each.
 
The ruling BJP has fielded candidates in all 89 constituencies, while the Congress has put up its nominees in 87. The Bahujan Samaj Party is contesting 64 seats, the Nationalist Congress Party 30, the Shiv Sena 25, the Aam Aadmi Party 21 and  the Janata Dal (United) 14. There are also 443 independent candidates.
 
Prominent candidates whose electoral fate will be decided on Saturday include Chief Minister Vijay Rupani who faces Indranil Rajyaguru of the Congress in Rajkot (West) and Congress leaders Shaktisinh Gohil (Mandvi) and Paresh Dhanani (Amreli).
 
The second and final phase of polling will be held on December 14 and counting of votes will be taken up on December 18, along with Himachal Pradesh, where polling was held on November 9.
 
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Tata Motors rolls out first batch of Tigor electric vehicles from its Sanand facility in Gujarat

Tata Motors rolling out the first batch of its Tigor electric vehicles from its Sanand plant in Gujarat on December 6, 2017. In the image, Mr. Ratan N Tata, Chairman Emeritus, Tata Group and Mr. N Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons and Tata Motors are seen flagging off the first batch of EVs.
Tata Motors rolling out the first batch of its Tigor electric vehicles from its Sanand plant in Gujarat on December 6, 2017. In the image, Mr. Ratan N Tata, Chairman Emeritus, Tata Group and Mr. N Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons and Tata Motors are seen flagging off the first batch of EVs.
Tata Sons Chairman N. Chandrasekaran today flagged off Tata Motors' first batch of Tigor electric vehicles (EVs) from its manufacturing facility at Sanand near here in Gujarat.
 
Mr. Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus, Tata Group, Mr. Guenter Butschek, CEO & MD, Tata Motors and members of the Tata Motors Executive Committee were present on the occasion.
 
The Tigor EVs are being manufactured for the Indian Government’s order of electric vehicles from the Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL), an entity under the Ministry of Power.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Chandrasekaran said it was a significant milestone for Tata Motors. "As we work together to build the future of e-mobility in India, I am confident that our customers will respond very favourably to this electric model."
 
Mr. Butschek said, "With Tigor EV, we have begun our journey in boosting e-mobility and offering a full range of electric vehicles to the Indian customers. This tender has effectively paved way for connecting our aspirations in the e-mobility space with the vision of the Government.”
 
Tata Motors had qualified as L1 bidder in the midst of stiff competition and won the tender of 10,000 electric cars floated by EESL in September 2017. For phase 1, Tata Motors is required to deliver 250 Tigor EVs, for which it has received a LoA. For an additional 100 cars, the LoA is expected to be issued shortly by EESL. The electric drive systems for this prestigious order have been developed and supplied by Electra EV – a company established to develop and supply electric drive systems for the automotive sector.
 
"Tata Motors is committed to the Government’s vision for electric vehicles by 2030 and will work in a collaborative manner to facilitate faster adoption of electric vehicles and to build a sustainable future for India," the release added.
 
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Ockhi weakens, could cross south Gujarat, north Maharashtra coasts tonight: IMD

Cyclone Ockhi weakened into a deep depresssion over eastcentral Arabian Sea today and is expected to weaken further and cross south Gujarat and adjoining north Maharashtra coasts near Surat as a depression later tonight.

 
Cyclone Ockhi to hit south Gujarat today: IMD
Cyclone Ockhi weakened into a deep depresssion over eastcentral Arabian Sea today and is expected to weaken further and cross south Gujarat and adjoining north Maharashtra coasts near Surat as a depression later tonight.
 
However, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) also held out the possibility that the sytem could dissipate over the sea before the landfall due to unfavourable environmental conditions.
 
In a bulletin issued at 2000 hours today, the IMD said the deep depression had moved further north-northeastwards with a speed of 18 kmph during the past six hours and lay centred at 1730 hours near latitude 19.4º N and longitude 71.5º E, about 240 km south-southwest of Surat and 150 km west-northwest of Mumbai. 
 
"It is very likely to continue to move northnortheastwards, weaken further and cross south Gujarat & adjoining north Maharashtra coasts near urat as a depression by tonight, the 5th December 2017. However, there is also a probability of dissipation of the system over the sea before the landfall due to unfavourable environmental conditions, like high wind shear and colder sea surface temperatures near the coast," it said.
 
The bulletin said that, under the influence of the system, light to moderate rainfall was very likely at most places over south Gujarat region (Valsad, Surat, Navsari, Bharuch, Dang, Tapi, Amreli, Diu, Daman, Dadra, and Nagar Haveli districts) till tomorrow morning, with heavy isolated rainfall.
 
Light to moderate rainfall was also likely at a few places over Saurashtra till tomorrow morning and over north Gujarat and west Madhya Pradesh till tomorrow noon.
 
In Maharashtra, light to moderate rainfall was likely over north Konkan (Palghar, Thane, Raigarh, Greater Mumbai, Dhule, Nandurbar, Nashik, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar and Pune districts)till tomorrow morning, with isolated heavy rainfall.
 
The bulletin said squally winds, with speed reaching 50-60 kmph, gusting to 70 kmph, were very likely along and off north Maharashtra and South Gujarat coasts during the next six hours before becoming 40-50 kmph, gusting to 60 kmph, during the subsequent six hours.
 
Sea conditions would be rough to very rough along and off north Maharashtra and South Gujarat during  the next 18 hours, it said.
 
Fishermen were advised not to venture into the sea along and off south Gujarat and north Maharashtra coasts during the next 18 hours.
 
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Meanwhile, a well-marked low pressure area over southeast Bay of Bengal and neighbourhood persisted and was very likely to become a depression over the same area during the next 12 hours and further intensify into a deep depression during the subsequent 48 hours, the bulletin said.
 
"It is very likely to move towards north Tamil Nadu-south Andhra Pradesh coasts during the next 48 hours and subsequently to north Andhra Pradesh coast," it said.
 
The bulletin said rainfall was very likely at most places over Nicobar Islands during the next three days, with isolated heavy rainfall.
 
Rainfall was also very likely at many places over north Andhra Pradesh and south Odisha on December 7 and 8, with heavy falls at isolated places.
 
Squally winds with speed reaching 40-50 kmph, gusting to 60 kmph, were very likely over and aroun Nicobar Islands today and tomorrow before decreasing thereafter.
 
Sea conditions would be rough to very rough today and tomorrow around Nicobar Islands, it said.
 
Fishermen along and off Nicobar Islands were advised not to venture into sea till tomorrow. Similarly, fishermen along and off Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu coasts were advised not to venture into sea between December 6 and 8.
 
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Cyclone Ockhi to weaken, cross south Gujarat, north Maharashtra coasts Tuesday night

Photo:IMD
Photo:IMD
The severe cyclonic storm Ockhi over eastcentral Arabian Sea is very likely to weaken gradually and cross south Gujarat and adjoining north Maharashtra coasts near Surat as a deep depression by tonight, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
A bulletin issued by the IMD at 0830 hours today said the cyclone had moved further northnortheastwards with a speed of 21 kmph during the past six hours and lay centred at 0530 hours IST today near latitude 17.5º N and longitude 70.4º E, about 480 km southwest of Surat and 300 km west-southwest of Mumbai. 
 
"It is very likely to continue to move north-northeastwards, weaken gradually and cross south Gujarat and adjoining north Maharashtra coasts near Surat as a deep depression by the night of 5th December 2017," the bulletin said.
 
According to it, light to moderate rainfall is very likely at most places over Saurashtra and south Gujarat region (Valsad, Surat, Navsari, Bharuch, Dang, Tapi, Amreli, Gir- Somnath, Bhavnagar, Diu, Daman, Dadra, and Nagar Haveli districts) during the next 24 hours, with heavy rainfall at isolated places. It said light to moderate rainfall would occur over Gujarat region at many places during the subsequent 12 hours.
 
The bulletin said light to moderate rainfall was also likely at most places over north Konkan hours (Palghar, Thane, Raigarh, Greater Mumbai, Dhule, Nandurbar, Nashik, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar and Pune districts) during the next 24 hours with isolated heavy rainfall.
 
Squally winds with speed reaching 50-60 kmph, gusting to 70 kmph, were very likely along and off north Maharashtra and South Gujarat coasts during the next 36 hours, it said.
 
Sea conditions would be rough to very rough along and off north Maharashtra and South Gujarat coasts during the next 36 hours, it said.
 
The bulletin said minor damage to looose andunsecured structures, banana trees, agriculture near coast due to salt spray, ripe paddy crops and kutcha embankments was likely in coastal areas of Saurashtra, south Gujarat and north Maharashtra.
 
Fishermen were advised not to venture into the sea along and off South Gujarat and north Maharashtra coasts during the next 36 hours.
 
Meanwhile, a well-marked low pressure area over southeast Bay of Bengal and adjoining south Andaman Sea persisted this morning. It is  very likely to become a depression over southeast Bay of Bengal during the next 24 hours and further intensify into a deep depression during the subsequent 48 hours. It is very likely to move west-northwestwards towards north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh coasts during the next three days, the bulletin said.
 
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Under its influence, rainfall was very likely over Nicobar Islands and at many places over Andaman Islands during the next three days, with isolated heavy rainfall.
 
Rainfall was also very likely over north Andhra Pradesh and south Odisha on December 7 and 8, with heavy falls at isolated places.
 
Squally winds with speed reaching 40-50 kmph, gusting to 60 kmph, were very likely over and around Nicobar Islands today and tomorrow and would decrease thereafter, it said.
 
Sea conditions would be rough to very rough today and tomorrow around Nicobar Islands.
 
Fishermen along and off Nicobar Islands are advised not to venture into sea till tomorrow. Similarly, fishermen along and off Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu coasts are advised not to venture in the sea from December 6 to 8, the bulletin added.
 
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Cyclone Ockhi weakens, heads towards south Gujarat, north Maharashtra

Photo:IMD
Photo:IMD
Even as cyclone Ockhi over eastcentral Arabian Sea is gradually weakening and moving towards South Gujarat and north Maharashtra,  a well-marked low pressure area has developed over southeast Bay of Bengal, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said today.
 
A bulletin issued by IMD at 1620 hours today said Ockhi had moved further north-northeastwards with with a speed of 13 kmph during the past six hours and lay centred at 1430 hours IST near latitude 15.2º N and longitude 69.0º E, about 590 km southwest of Mumbai and 770 km south-southwest of Surat. 
 
"It is very likely to continue to move north-northeastwards, weaken gradually and cross south Gujarat and adjoining north Maharashtra coasts near Surat as a deep depression by the night of tomorrow, the 5th December 2017," it said.
 
The bulletin said heavy rainfall was light to moderate rainfall was very likely at a few places over Saurashtra and south Gujarat region today. Light to moderate rainfall was very likely at most places over Saurashtra and south Gujarat (Valsad, Surat, Navsari, Bharuch, Dang, Tapi, Amreli, Gir- Somnath, Bhavnagar, Diu, Daman, Dadra, and Nagar Haveli districts) tomorrow with heavy rainfall at isolated places, and light to moderate rainfall at many places in the two regions on December 6.
 
According to it, light to moderate rainfall was very likely over north Konkan, including Mumbai, in Maharashtra today. Light to moderate rainfall was also likely at most places over north Konkan (Palghar, Thane, Raigarh, Greater Mumbai, Dhule, Nandurbar, Nashik, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar and Pune districts) tomorrow, with isolated heavy rainfall.
 
Squally winds with speed reaching 50-60 kmph, gusting to 70 kmph, were very likely along and off north Maharashtra and South Gujarat coasts from today from tonight to December 6 morning.
 
Sea conditions would be rough to very rough along and off north Maharashtra and South Gujarat coasts from tonight till December 6 morning, the bulletin said.
 
The IMD advised fishermen not to venture into the sea along and off south Gujarat and north Maharashtra coasts from today till December 6 morning.
 
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The bulletin said the low pressure area over southeast Bay of Bengal and adjoining south Andaman Sea was very likely to become a depression during the next 24 hours and further intensify into a deep depression during the subsequent 48 hours. It is very likely to move west-northwestwards towards north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh coasts during the next three days, it said.
 
According to it, rainfall was very likely at most places over Andaman Islands over Andaman Islands during the next three days, with isolated heavy rainfall.
 
Rainfall was also very likely at many places over north Andhra Pradesh and south Odisha on December 7 and 8, it said.
 
Squally winds with speed reaching 30-40 kmph, gusting to 50 kmph, were likely around Nicobar Islands today and 40-50 kmph, gusting to 60 kmph, on December 5 and 6 and would decrease thereafter.
 
Sea condition would be rough to very rough around Nicobar Islands during December 4 to 6.
 
Fishermen along and off Nicobar Islands are advised not to venture into sea during this period. Similarly, fishermen along and off the Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu coasts were advised not to venture into the sea from December 6 to 8.
 
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Modi slams Congress, says those opposing bullet train should travel on bullock carts

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday slammed the Congress for allegedly neglecting development during the decades it had ruled the country and dividing the people on the lines of caste, community and language and urged the people of Gujarat to vote the BJP back to power in next month's Assembly elections with a resounding majority.

 
Congress opposes BJP for sake of opposing: Modi in Bharuch
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today slammed the Congress for allegedly neglecting development during  the decades it had ruled the country and dividing the people on the lines of caste, community and language and urged the people of Gujarat to vote the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) back to power in next month's Assembly elections with a resounding majority.
 
"Those who are opposing the bullet train should travel on bullock carts. We will not stop them," he said, addressing a public meeting in Bharuch in the poll-bound state, referring to the questions raised by the Congress about the bullet train between Ahmedabad and Mumbai.
 
Polling is slated to be held in two phases on December 9 and 14 to elect the new 182-member Gujarat Legislative Assembly.
 
"On December 9, we have to show our strengthen, the strength of our finger. You will decide the destiny of Gujarat with the strength of your finger," he said.
 
Mr. Modi said Gujarat had recorded unprecedented development during the 22 years of rule by the BJP, including his own 12 years as Chief Minister. He said that he had visited all parts of the state during the election campaign and could sense that a "BJP storm" was going to sweep the state in the polls, leaving the Congress with no routes for escape.
 
He spoke about how the Congress had been wiped out in Uttar Pradesh, a state where it had ruled for decades and which had given the country so many Prime Ministers, and said the results of the recent civic polls in that state was a harbinger of what was in store for the party in Gujarat.
 
"For decades, they ruled by dividing the people, the richer and the poor, the villages and the cities, the educated and uneducated and exploited differences of language, caste and religion," he said. "You continue to fight and die, and they enjoy the loot."
 
Mr. Modi said all these "diseases" had ended after the BJP came to power in Gujarat and the state was marching towards progress.
 
He claimed that when he was Chief Minister, there was not a single day when the Congress regime at the Centre had not tried to create problems for his government.
 
He said that Kutch and Bharuch, two Muslim-dominated districts in Gujarat, had witnessed the highest development during BJP's rule in the state.
 
"We have only one agenda, one goal. As a result of that, the whole country is marching foward towards progress," he said.
 
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Mr. Modi went on to list the steps taken by the BJP government at the Centre and in Gujarat for the development of the state as a whole and Bharuch in particular. Ridiculing those opposed to the bullet train, he spoke about how the project would create thousands of jobs for the youth of the region and help them acquire modern skills.
 
He said the Congress had also tried to implement the project, but could not reach an agreement with Japan. "We have signed the agreement and got a virtually interest-free Rs. 100,000 crore loan for the project," he said.
 
"You can oppose the BJP, but don't oppose development. There is no alternative to development," he said.
 
He also said that there was a time when there was no security for the people of the district and other parts of Gujarat, when there were riots and curfew for weeks on end, when people were worried about the safety of women and girls in their families. He claimed all this had ended under the BJP's role. "If security is ensured, development will automatically follow. Only the BJP has provided security  in Gujarat," he said.
 
He also said that the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the tallest in the world, coming up at Kevadia on the Narmada near Bharuch, would help boost tourism to the region.
 
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Manmohan hits out at Modi, says winds of change are blowing in Gujarat

Former Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing businessmen and professionals in Surat, in poll-bound Gujarat, on December 2, 2017.
Former Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing businessmen and professionals in Surat, in poll-bound Gujarat, on December 2, 2017.
In a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government at the Centre and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in poll-bound Gujarat, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today  said the recent agitations of the youth cutting across different sections of society were an indication  of the deep dissatisfaction among them with the performance of successive BJP governments in the state.
 
"The winds of change are blowing in Gujarat," he said at an interaction with businessmen and professionals in Surat in the poll-bound state, which will hold elections on December 9 and 14 to elect a new 182-member legislative assembly.
 
"The Congress party will ensure that the voice of every Gujarati regardless of caste, creed, gender or class will be heard. Our Congress government will govern with both head and heart, with Sardar Patel and Mahatma Gandhi as our inspirations," he said.
 
"After decades, the time has come for the intelligent and enterprising people of Gujarat to once again repose their faith in the Congress party, which will work together with 6.5 crore Gujaratis, to take the state to new heights and the future it deserves," he said.
 
Dr. Singh began by saying that he understood that the people of the state had gone through some very tough times over the last year. 
 
"Problems that were no creation of yours, and yet you suffered. I come here to tell you that the Congress party stands with you during this difficult period brought about by the government’s double blow of demonetisation and poor implementation of GST," he said.
 
"Most of you trusted the Prime Minister and believed in the policy of demonetisation, in the hope that your suffering would actually benefit India. I salute your commitment to the cause of rooting out black money. But soon it emerged that corruption remained unabated, those who had black money were able to convert it into white.
 
"Just as you were recovering from one blow, then came GST. Nobody consulted you or tried to understand how your dhandha works. The Prime Minister is from Gujarat. He claims to understand Gujarat and the poor more than anybody else. How is it that he never understood the pain his decisions will unleash on you? This is an uniformed, half-baked crusade on black money where he painted everyone to be a thief, while the real culprits have gotten away," he said.
 
Dr. Singh said the Goods and Service Tax (GST) was a good idea which the Congress initiated, but the BJP government's version was "poorly designed, badly implemented and brought about in such a tearing hurry."
 
"It is no wonder that Surat voiced the biggest protests in India against this injustice by the NDA government. You after all come from the land of two great souls, Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel. When the Mahatma decided to protest against the unjust British tax on salt, he did it from your backyard in Dandi. Standing up for injustice is in your blood and you raised your voice against the shoddy implementation of GST.
 
"The Congress amplified your voice, and was able to apply pressure on the government to listen to your point of view. I am aware that many of the problems still remain, and we are committed to resolving them as much as we can as a responsible Opposition," he said.
 
Dr. Singh went on to speak about the hardships caused to businessmen, traders and workers in industrial clusters and markets across the country. He also invoked the memory of more than a hundred people who had lost their lives last year due to demonetisation.
 
He said November 8, 2016, when Mr. Modi announced the demonetisation of Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 bank notes, was a Black Day for the country's economy and democracy.
 
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"Black money and tax evasion are a menace that the country needs to tackle, but demonetisation was clearly not the solution. It has been suggested many times in the past as one of the methods to eradicate black money. But as a responsible government, we never took such a drastic measure because in our reasoned analysis, the costs of demonetisation always exceeded the benefits substantially," he said.
 
"We know by now that none of the stated objectives of eliminating black money, terror financing and counterfeit currency have been met. To promote a less-cash economy, coercive steps like demonetisation are ineffective. The cash in circulation after one year is close to 90% of previous levels. The fact that more than 99% of the demonetised currency came back into the banking system, has punctured the government’s claims. There are also widespread reports of the rich converting their black money into white while the poor suffered," he said.
 
Dr. Singh said demonetisation had proved to be "mere bluster" to reap political dividends while the real offenders had escaped.
 
"We saw the impact of demonetisation on the economy when the GDP growth rate dropped to 5.7% in the first quarter of 2017-18 under the new calculations. Even this is bound to be a gross underestimate as the pain of the informal sector is not adequately captured in the GDP calculation. Every one percent loss of GDP annually costs our nation 1.5 lakh crore rupees. Think of the human impact from this lost growth -- the lost jobs, the youth whose opportunities have vanished, the businesses who had to shut down and the entrepreneurs whose drive to succeed has turned into discouraged disappointment.
 
"GDP growth in the first quarter of 2017-18 fall to 5.7 per cent. July-September quarter has registered a growth rate of 6.3 per cent. This is to be welcomed. But is too early to conclude that this represents a reversal of the declining trend observed in the previous five quarters. Some economists believe that the CSO which released the figures, has not adequately captured the impact of demonetisation and GST on the informal sector that accounts for about 30 per cent of the economy," he said.
 
He said though there was strong growth in manufacturing in the second quarter, this had been calculated based on corporate results and did not take into account the small and medium sector which suffered the most after demonetisation and the launch of GST. He said there were also worries about the farm sector growth which fell to 1.7% from 2.3% in the previous quarter and 4.1% in the same quarter last year.
 
"We have to remember that this is despite the fact that the Government has front loaded its spending on projects, forcing up our fiscal deficit to a high of 96.1 per cent of the Rs. 546532 crore target set for the full year," he said.
 
He also noted that private spending on construction had been very dismal, where there were huge job losses.
 
"Thus there is still considerable uncertainty about the growth of GDP. The RBI forecasts that growth in 2017-19 will pick up to 6.7 per cent. However, even if growth reaches 6.7 per cent in 2017-18, Modiji’s four year average growth rate will be only 7.1 per cent. To equal the UPA’s ten year average, the economy will have to grow at 10.6 percent in the fifth year. I would be happy if this were to happen, but frankly I do not think it will," he said.
 
"What is even more tragic is none of the lessons from this monumental blunder have been learnt by the government. Instead of providing relief, as I had requested in Parliament, to the poor and marginalised, farmers, traders, and the small and medium businesses, who suffered the brunt of demonetisation, the government chose to inflict on them a badly designed and hastily implemented GST.
 
"This twin blow is a complete disaster for our economy. It has broken the back of small and medium businesses in India. The impact in the rest of the country is equally bad if not worse. The supply chains and credit lines of our MSME sector and industrial clusters have been greatly affected, hampering production. You are aware of the damage done to the ceramics sector in Morbi and the industries in Vapi and Rajkot. Overall, as our domestic sector is not able to cope with demand, China is benefiting from this situation," he said.
 
"In the first half of FY 2016-17, India’s imports from China stood at Rs. 1.96 lakh crore. During the same period in FY 2017-18, the imports from China increased to Rs. 2.41 lakh crore. This unprecedented increase of imports by more than Rs. 45,000 crore, which is a 23% increase in a year, can be attributed largely to demonetisation and GST. These twin blows damaged India’s MSME sector and our businesses had to turn to Chinese imports at the cost of Indian jobs," he said.
 
Dr. Singh said GST had been envisioned by the UPA as a single tax, capped at 18%, but the current GST was a "great departure from that vision".
 
"It has transformed into a complicated mess, with multiple slabs, and rates as high as 28%, along with additional cesses. This was done by the government without paying any heed to our advice, both in Parliament and in private consultations. Compliance requirements have become a nightmare for small businesses. The unending notifications and changes, a repeat of the chaos of demonetisation, have caused needless confusion," he said.
 
"Along with demonetisation, GST has sown a deep-rooted fear of tax terrorism among the business community. At a time when the economy has slowed down considerably, despite favourable global macroeconomic conditions, the fear of tax terrorism has eroded the confidence of businesses to invest. As you know, the growth in private investment is at a 25-year low. This is terrible for India’s economy.
 
"Good governance involves both the head and the heart. It pains me to say that the Union government has completely failed to do its duty on both fronts," he said.
 
"Today, one year after demonetisation, large sections of the country feel they have been taken for a ride by their government. That their trust was betrayed," he said.
 
Stating that questions must be asked again and again on the soundness of policy and the lack of transparency in the government, he said it saddened him to see that every important issue that affected the lives of crores of citizens is being turned into binaries of black and white. 
 
"The Congress party has built India into a global economic powerhouse over the past 70 years. We want to ensure that the national interest is upheld and that the weaker sections of the society are protected," he said.
 
Dr. Singh went on to speak about farmers and the agrarian distress, and the problems of Adivasis.
 
"On every social indicator, from Infant Mortality Rate, Maternal Mortality Rate, to female literacy, Gujarat has fallen behind the best performing states in the country, including Himachal, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
 
"The abdication of the Gujarat state of public education has led to rampant privatisation and decreasing quality of education. This in turn is affecting the competitiveness of otherwise sharp Gujarati youth in the job market," he added.
 
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Rear Admiral Sanjay Roye takes over as new FOC, Gujarat Naval Area

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Rear Admiral Sanjay Roye took over as the third Flag Officer Commanding of the Gujarat, Daman and Diu Naval Area (FOGNA) from Rear Admiral Sandeep Beecha at a ceremony at Gandhinagar near here today.
 
Gujarat, in view of its strategic location and vast coastline of 1600 km, plays a very significant role in the security and economic dynamics of the nation. 
 
FOGNA is responsible to the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command for all naval operations in Gujarat, Daman and Diu Naval Area, security of its coast and Offshore Development Areas which contribute significantly to India’s commercial and maritime economic activities.
 
Rear Admiral Roye joined National Defence Academy in 1983 and was commissioned in the Indian Navy in 1986. He is a recipient of the coveted ‘Binoculars’ and ‘CNS Gold Medal’ for being adjudged the ‘Best All-round Cadet’ and ‘First in Order of Merit’ during cadets and midshipman training, respectively.
 
The officer belongs to the Submarine Arm of the Indian Navy and is a Navigation and Direction Specialist. He has held a number of staff appointments on board submarines and has commanded Indian Naval Submarines Sindhurakshak, Sindhuraj and Chakra.
 
He has also held a number of key ashore appointments, including Commodore Commanding Submarines (West) and Commanding Officer, INS Vajrabahu. Prior to the present appointment as the Flag Officer Commanding, Gujarat Daman and Diu Naval Area, the Flag Officer held the appointment of Project Director (Operations & Training) at Headquarters, Advance Technology Vessel Project in New Delhi.
 
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Congress releases third list of 76 candidates for Gujarat Assembly elections

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The Congress late tonight released its third list of 76 candidates for next month's crucial elections to the 182-member Gujarat Legislative Assembly.
 
The party, which is making a determined bid to regain power in the state after more than two decades in the political wilderness, had earlier released two lists of 86 candidates in all for the elections, which will be held in two phases on December 9 and 14.
 
The third list, released by Congress General Secretary Oscar Fernandes in New Delhi, included at least 11 candidates from Scheduled Tribes (ST) and three from the Scheduled Castes (SC).
 
Prominent among those in the third list are former Gujarat Congress president Siddharth Patel, who has been fielded from Dabhoi in Vadodara district, and Congress legislature party leader Mohansinh Rathwa, who is the party's nominee from Chhota Udepur.
 
Others in the list include former Vadodara mayor Ranjit Chavan from Akota in Vadodara, MLA Gayasuddin Sheikh from Dariapur in Ahmedabad, Babubhai Mangukia from Thakkarbapa Nagar, Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee general secretary Mihir Shah (Vejalpur), former Gujarat Pradesh Youth Congress president Indravijaysinh Gohil (Nikol), former MLA Paranjadityasinh Parmar (Lunavada).
 
Eight-nine constituencies in the Saurashtra and South Gujarat regions will go to the polls on December 9 and 93 constituencies in Central Gujarat and North Gujarat will vote in the second phase of polling on December 14.
 
Counting of votes will be taken up on December 18, along with Himachal Pradesh, where polling was held on November 9, and all the results are expected by that evening.
 
The following is the third list of Congress candidates:
 
 
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Hardik Patel backs Congress, says it has promised quota for Patidars

Patidar leader Hardik Patel on Wednesday threw in his lot with the Congress after saying that he fully accepted a formula proposed by it to provide reservation in government jobs and educational institutions to his community if it is voted to power in next month's crucial elections to the Gujarat Legislative Assembly.

 
Hardik Patel backs Congress in Gujarat elections
Patidar leader Hardik Patel today threw in his lot with the Congress after saying that he fully accepted a formula proposed by it to provide reservation in government jobs and educational institutions to his community if it is voted to power in next month's crucial elections to the Gujarat Legislative Assembly.
 
Addressing a press conference here today, Mr. Patel, the 24-year-old leader of the powerful Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), stopped short of declaring his support for the Congress in the elections slated on December 9 and 14 to elect a new 182-member Assembly.
 
But he stated explicitly that he and his supporters across the state would work hard to defeat the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the elections because it had not only failed to address the Patidars' grievances but had also unleashed atrocities on members of the community and other groups.
 
"When I say we are opposing the BJP, it directly or indirectly means that we are supporting the Congress," he said.
 
"Congress people are not our cousins, but when they speak about our rights, we have to listen to it. And the formula they have offered is workable," he said.
 
He accused the BJP of being arrogant after 22 unbroken years in power and of using brute force to suppress the Patidar's agitation for quota in jobs and educational institutions. He said most of the cases filed by the police against PAAS leaders during the agitation had still not been withdrawn.
 
Patidars are estimated to make up about 12% of the state's population and they can influence the outcome in about 60 constituencies. The community  had backed the BJP in the last two decades.
 
PAAS leaders had held long hours of discussions in the past few weeks on the reservation issue. The Congress was represented at the  talks by former Union Law Minister and senior advocate Kapil Sibal.
 
Mr. Patel said the Congress had promised to introduce a Bill on reservation for economically and educationally backward communities not covered under the present reservation quotas. He said this would be done without affecting, in any way, the existing quotas for the Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
 
He said the formula proposed by the Congress, which would be based on Articles 46 and 31C of the Constitution, would also find a place in the party's election manifesto.
 
Article 46 provides the basis for reservation for castes or classes which are socially or economically deprived. Article 31C protects laws that give effect to directive principles of state policy even if they are in contravention with Fundamental Rights.
 
Like many other states, Gujarat currently has 49% reservation, including  7% for Scheduled Castes, 15% for Scheduled Tribes and 27% for OBCs. In 1992, the Supreme Court set a ceiling of 50% for all types of reservation while upholding the Mandal Commission’s recommendation on  reservation for OBCs as constitutionally valid.
 
Mr. Patel said there was no bar in the Constitution for reservation in excess of 49%, saying that the present limit was set by the apex court. He also said that the Congress had stated that it would act within the Constitution while providing for a quota for those not covered by the existing reservation laws.
 
He said the Congress had also promised to conduct a proper survey of communities not covered by existing reservation provisions to ascertain their economic status.
 
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Mr. Patel also repeatedly asserted that PAAS had not sought any tickets for its members in the coming elections. He said he personally had no intention of joining any political party for two and a half years. All that PAAS wanted was that the Congress should field good and honest candidates who would work for the welfare of the people and the development of the state, he said.
 
He accused the BJP of putting up independent candidates in many constituencies in an effort to divide the anti-BJP votes. He said the BJP had put aside huge funds for this purpose and had promised such candidates Rs. 1000 per vote they managed to get.
 
PAAS had launched an agitation demanding reservation for Patidars two years and held demonstrations across the state. 
 
Apart from Mr. Patel, two other prominent youth leaders  -- Alpesh Thakore, a leader of the OBC community and Jignesh Mewani, a leader of Dalits -- have grown close to the Congress in recent months in the run-up to the elections. Mr. Thakore, in fact, formally joined the Congress a few weeks ago during a public meeting that was also addressed by Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi.
 
The Congress has reached out during the campaign to all three youth leaders as part of its efforts to build a broad coalition that would challenge the BJP this time in the state.
 
Gujarat is considered a bastion of the BJP, which has ruled the state for 22 years. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was Chief Minister for about 13 years from 2001 before being named as his party's Prime Ministerial candidate in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
 
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Congress issues second list of 13 candidates for Gujarat Assembly elections

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The Congress today released a second list of 13 candidates for the elections to the 182-member Gujarat Legislative Assembly slated to be held on December 9 and 14.
 
The list includes new candidates for four constituencies -- Junagadh, Bharuch, Kamrej and Varachha Road -- for which nominees had been named in the first list of 77 candidates released by the party on November 19.
 
The following is the list of 13 candidates released today:
1  Abdasa -- Pradyumansinh Jadeja
2  Bhuj -- Aadam B. Chaki
3  Rapar --  Ms. Santok Arethiya
4   Rajkot East -- Mithul Donga
5  Rajkot South -- Dinesh Chovatiya
6  Jamnagar North -- Jiwan Kumbharvadia
7  Jamnagar South -- Ashok Lal
8  Khambhalia -- Vikram Madam
9  Dwarka -- Meraman Goriya
10 Junagadh -- Bhikhabhai Joshi (In place of Amit Thummar)
11 Bharuch -- Jaish Patel (In place of Kiran Thakor)
12 Kamrej -- Ashok Jirawala (In place of Nilesh Kumbani)
13 Varachha Road -- Dhirubhai Gajera (In place of Prafulbhai C. Togadiya)
 
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Congress releases first list of 77 candidates for Gujarat Assembly elections

Shaktisinh Gohil
Shaktisinh Gohil
The Congress today released its first list of candidates for the elections to the 183-member Gujarat Legislative Assembly next month.
 
While senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil will contest from Mandvi, Indranil Rajyaguru has been fielded as the party's nominee against Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani in Rajkot West.
 
Another senior state Congress leader Arjun Modhaviya will be the party's candidate from Porbandar.
 
The BJP has already released two lists of 106 candidates in all for the crucial elections in which polling will be held in two phases on December 9 and 14.
 
Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki told journalists earlier in the day today that a formula had been worked out on the reservation issue with the  Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), which has been campaigning for a quota for the community in government jobs and educational institutions. PAAS, which wields enormous influence over the community, is led by the 24-year-old Hardik Patel, who has made it clear earlier that he would ask his supporters to vote against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
 
There are 20 Patidars in the Congress' first list of candidates, though both sides insisted that PAAS had not sought any seats for its members.
 
The following is the list of Congress candidates:
1. Shaktisinh Gohil - Mandvi
2. VK Humbal - Anjar
3. Kishorbhai G Pingol - Gandhidham - SC
4. Naushadji B Solanki - Dasada SC
5. Somabhai G Patel - Limbdi
6. Mohanbhai D Patel - Wadhwan
7. Rutvikkumar L Makwana - Chotila
8. Purushottambhai Sabariya - Dhrangadhra
9. Brijesh A Merja - Morbi
10. Lalit K Kagathara - Tankara
11. Mohammad Javed Pirzada - Wankaner
12. Indranil Rajyaguru - Rajkot West
13. Vashram A Sangathia - Rajkot Rural - SC
14. Kunvarji M Bavaliya - Jasdan
15. Arjun Khataria - Gondal
16. Ravi Ambaliya - Jetpur
17. Lalit Vasoya - Dhoraji
18. Pravinbhai N Muchchadiya - Kalavad - SC
19. Vallabh Dharadiya - Jamnagar Rural
20. Chiragbhai R Kalariya - Jamjodhpur
21. Arjunbhai Modhvadiya - Porbandar
22. Vejabhai L Modedara - Kutiyana
23. Jawahar Chavda - Manavadar
24. Amit Thummar - Junagadh
25. Harshadbhai Ribadiya - Visvadar
26. Jayeshkumar V Ladani - Keshod
27. Babubhai K Vaja - Mangrol
28. Vimalbhai K Chudasma - Somnath
29. Bhagwanbhai D Barad - Talala
30. Mohanbhai M Vala - Kodinar (SC)
31. Punjabhai Vansh - Una
32. JV Kakadiya - Dhari
33. Pareshbhai Dhanani - Amreli
34. Virjibhai Thummar - Lathi
35. Pratap Dhuddhat - Savarkundla
36. Amrish J Der - Rajula
37. Vijaybhai Baraiya - Mahuva
38. Kanubhai M Baraiya - Talaja
39. PM Kheni - Gariadhar
40. Pravinbhai J Rathod - Palitana
41. Kantibhai Chauhan - Bhavnagar Rural
42. Ms Nitaben B Rathod - Bhavnagar East
43. Dilipsinh A Gohil - Bhavnagar West
44. Praveen Maru - Gadhada - SC
45. Manhar Patel - Botad
46. Premsinh D Vasava - Nandod - ST
47. Sanjaybhai J Solanki - Jambusar
48. Suleman Patel - Vagra
49. Kiran Thakor - Bharuch 
50. Anil Bhagat -  Ankleshwar
51. Yogendrasing C Bakrola - Olpad
52. Anandbhai Chaudhari - Mandvi
53. Nilesh Kambani - Kamrej
54. Nitin Bharucha - Surat East
55. Dinesh M Kacchadiya - Surat North
56. Prafulbhai C Togadiya - Varachha Road
57. Bhavesh G Bhumaliya - Karanj
58. Ravindra Patil - Limbayat
59. Satish Patil - Udhna
60. Ashokbhai M Kothari - Majura
61. Jignesh Mewasa - Katargam
62. Iqbhalbhai Patel - Surat West
63. Yogeshbhai B Patel - Choryasi
64. Tarunkumar J Vaghela - Bardoli - SC
65. Dr Tusharbhai Chaudhary - Mahuva - ST
67. Punabhai D Gamit - Vyara - ST
68. Sunil Gamit - Nizar - ST
69. Mangalbhai G Gavit - Dangs - ST
70. Parimal N Patel - Jalalpore
71. Sureshbhai Halpati - Gandevi - ST
72. Anantkumar H Patel - Bansda - ST
73. Ishwarbhai D. Patel - Dharampur - ST
74. Narendra J. Tandel - Valsad
75. Bharatbhai M. Patel - Pardi
76. Jitubhai H. Chaudhary - Kaprada - ST
77. Ashokbhai M. Patel - Umbargaon - ST
 
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7 dead in car-bus collision in Mehsana district of Gujarat

 
Seven killed in car-bus collision in Gujarat

At least seven people were killed after a car and bus collided with each other in Gujarat’s Mehsana district on Thursday night.

The incident occurred near Mehsana-Unjha highway. Police have registered a case and has initiated investigations into the matter.

Meanwhile, the cause of accident is being ascertained.

ANI

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