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These are "semi-finals" for 2024 Lok Sabha elections: Gujarat Finance Minister

Valsad: These 2022 assembly polls in Gujarat are the "semi-finals" for Lok Sabha elections 2024 in the country, state Finance Minister Kanubhai Desai said after casting his vote on Thursday.
"After the country accepted Gujarat's model of development in the year 2014, these 2022 assembly elections are the semi-finals for 2024 elections," Kanubhai Desai said in a conversation with ANI. He said that every person in Gujarat has decided to vote for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to bring it to power once again.
"Gujarat has been progressing and the people of the state have decided to vote for the BJP. People have trust in BJP that there will be more development in the state," he added.
Further talking about the people's enthusiasm, Desai said that people have an "unbreakable trust" in the BJP. "The craze with which they are voting, the margin of victory will rise," the state Finance Minister said.
"People will decide how many seats will BJP get, but I can say that it is 100 per cent that BJP will come to govern the state," he asserted.
A total of 2,39,76,670 voters who will cast their votes by 5 pm today will decide the fate of 788 candidates who are in the fray for the first phase.
Out of the total number of electorates, 1,24,33,362 are males, 1,1,5,42,811 females and 497 are from the third gender. Over 4 lakh PWD voters are eligible to cast their votes.
Nearly 9.8 lakh senior citizen voters (80+) and nearly 10,000 voters who are 100 and above are eligible to vote.
According to the Election Commission (EC), there are 5,74,560 voters who are between 18 to 19 years of age while 4,945 voters are above 99 years of age. There are 163 NRI voters, of which 125 are men and 38 are women.
There are 14,382 voting centres, out of which 3,311 are in the urban areas and 11,071 in the rural areas.
According to the EC, there is live webcasting of 13,065 polling booths in 19 districts being done during the first phase of voting. A state-level monitoring room is also functioning at Gandhinagar by the Chief Electoral Officer. There has been continuous observation from 6.30 am till the voting completes.
As per the instructions of the Election Commission, the entire arrangement has been made. In the first phase, voting is being held at a total of 25,430 polling stations. Out of these 13,065, polling stations are webcast live.
Among prominent candidates, Gujarat Chief Minster Bhupendra Patel is contesting from Ghatlodia, AAP Chief Ministerial candidate Isudan Gadhvi from Khambhaliya, former Congress leader and BJP candidate Hardik Patel from Viramgam, former Congress leader and now BJP candidate Alpesh Thakor from Gandhinagar South.
AAP state president Gopal Italia is contesting from Katargam constituency, Gujarat Home Minister (State) Harsh Sanghavi from Majura, Rivaba Jadeja from Jamnagar North, former Gujarat minister Parshottam Solanki from Bhavnagar Rural, Kunwarji Bavaliya from Jasdan, Kantilal Amrutiya from Morbi and Jayesh Radadiya from Jetpur.
Former BJP MLA Madhu Shrivastav is contesting as an Independent from Vaghodia.
The counting of votes will be done on December 8. Results of the Himachal Pradesh assembly elections will also be declared on the same day. (ANI)

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