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Counting begins in Gujarat; Himachal

Ahmedbad/Shimla, Thu, 20 Dec 2012 NI Wire

The counting of the votes held for assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh (HP) has been begun in the morning on Thursday in both states.

The voting begins at 8 a.m. and the trends has begun to come after half and hour of counting.

According to latest development, Gujarat is marching towards the incumbency for the third time while Congress is leading in Himachal Pradesh giving trend of anti-incumbency factor.

In Gujarat, out of 182 seats, the trends are coming for 181 seats where Narendra Modi led Bhartiya Janta Party is leading towards clear majority as it is leading at 115 seats.

Congress is leading on 63 seats while Keshubhai Patel led Gujarat Pariwartan Party (GPP) is leading on 3 seats.

Other is leading on 1 seat.

In Himachal Pradesh, the public wants to change the government as despite corruption charges labeled against strong Candidate of Chief Minister from Congress Party Vir Bhadra Singh, who had to resign from Union Cabinet in the centre due to graft charges, Congress Party is leading at 37 constituencies.

Chief Minister Prem Singh Dhoomal led BJP is leading at 24 seats while others are leading at 7 seats out of total 68 assembly constituencies.

Virbhadra Singh was confident his party would oust the BJP.

"We are very confident of forming a government," he told the media.

BJP Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal was initially supremely confident of retaining power but then gave a cautious comment: "We did our best, and let us see who will form the government."

Among the political veterans who were trailing were seven-time legislator Vidya Stokes of the Congress and former Congress state chief Kaul Singh.

BJP state leader Satpal Satti was also trailing, officials said.

The fate of 459 candidates, including 106 independents, will be decided during the day.

Nearly 74 percent of the 4.6 million electors exercised their franchise Nov 4. It was an all-time record for assembly polls in the hill state.

The Himachal Lokhit Party (HLP), formed under the leadership of BJP rebel and four-time former MP Maheshwar Singh, and the CPI-M are giving a tough fight to both main political parties on more than five seats.

In 2007, the BJP won 41 seats, the Congress 23, the Bahujan Samaj Party one and independents three. The BSP legislator later joined the BJP.

In Gujarat, Chief Minister Narendra Modi won from his home constituency Maninagar seat by 70,000 votes.

Before the vote count started across the state at 8 a.m., Modi confidant Amit Shah asserted that the BJP was sure to bag a two-thirds majority in the 182-member Gujarat assembly.

The GPP said the Congress should have allied with it.

GPP leader Gordhan Zadaphia said a GPP-Congress alliance could have ousted Modi, who has ruled Gujarat since 2001 and who tweeted Thursday in the run up to the vote count: "No need to look behind."

Gujarat Congress leader Ameeben Yagnik admitted: "We will have to work harder in Gujarat."

The BJP won 117 seats in 2007. Exit polls have predicted a massive win for the BJP in Gujarat.

Political pundits have said that a widely predicted Modi win - the third time he would be taking the BJP to victory in Gujarat - could have him playing a larger role in national politics.

--With IANS Inputs--

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