New Delhi: Voting for the second phase of the Gujarat Assembly Elections 2017 began at 8 am on Thursday. The campaign saw a bitter battle between the Congress and the BJP. Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed confidence over a win and accused the opposition of “spreading lies” about Gujarat, its citizens and him. Rahul Gandhi, on the other hand, said there was “tremendous undercurrent” against the ruling BJP in Gujarat and predicted a victory for his party. Rahul claimed that the public mood had undergone a radical change and promised a “zabardast” outcome. A total of 851 candidates are in the fray for 93 seats spread across 14 districts in north and central Gujarat, in the final phase of the polls, where 2.22 crore people are eligible to exercise their franchise.

After casting his vote, BJP president Amit Shah has now gone over to Kameshwar temple. The battle for Gujarat is one of the most closely contested one in the state for quite some time. Will the anti-incumbency bite the BJP or are the people of Gujarat happy with the Vikas model? Will Rahul Gandhi-Hardik Patel bring Congress to power in a state which has eluded the national party for 22 years?

“Today in Gujarat is the last phase of polling. In the last two decades, the BJP has kept the faith of the people by doing development. To maintain this pace (of development), each and every vote is important to strengthen the hands of  Modi Ji. I appeal to all voters to come out in large numbers and vote,” says Amit Shah on his Twitter account:

“I appeal to the people of Gujarat to vote in large numbers. I ask them to keep the development on track,” says Finance Minister Arun Jaitley after casting his vote in Ahmedabad’s Vejalpur.

Shankersinh Vaghela has cast his vote in Gandhinagar’s Vasan village. The former Gujarat CM quit the Congress party ahead of the Gujarat Elections and decided to open a new political front by joining Jan Vikalp, a party recently formed by his supporters.

PM Narendra Modi’s 95-year-old mother Heeraben after casting her vote in a polling booth in Gandhinagar:

PAAS leader Hardik Patel’s parents pray as voting for the second phase of Gujarat Elections gets underway. Hardik has thrown his weight behind the Congress party and has, along with Rahul Gandhi, become the biggest thorn in BJP’s side. The Patidar leader’s mass appeal has drawn huge crowds, which have sometimes been bigger than those of PM Narendra Modi.

There are 37.37 lakh voters between 18 and 25 years of age. Over 80 lakh voters are in the 26 to 40 age bracket while around 74 lakh are aged 41 to 60. According to the state election commission, 30.51 lakh voters are over 60. Former Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel casts her vote in the Gujarat Polls from Ghatlodia in Ahmedabad. BJP’s Bhupendra Patel is up against Congress’s Shashikant Patel on this seat.

Meanwhile, Congress leader P Chidambaram attacked the BJP over its decision to petition against Rahul Gandhi for his interview. The former Finance Minister tweeted saying, “BJP petitioning the Election Commission is an act of desperation. An interview after the campaign ended is the norm for every candidate and every campaigner in every election. On Tuesday, PM made a speech. BJP’s President gave an interview. Railway Minister gave an interview. Why have all these escaped the EC’s attention? Why pick on only Mr Rahul Gandhi’s interview?”