Gujarat will vote for 89 out of the 182 seats in the first phase of the Assembly polls which are scheduled to happen on December 9. The tireless campaigning for the first phase of the crucial Gujarat Assembly polls will finally end on Thursday. The big test is a significant one for both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the soon to be Congress president Rahul Gandhi. While Bhartiya Janata Party is struggling to establish the usual connect with the public as they continue to distance themselves due to the seemingly negative perceptions of the Goods and Service tax (GST) and demonetisation, Congress seems to be making the most out of BJP’s fears. The upcoming polls are certainly going to be a litmus test for Rahul Gandhi.

On the 89 seats which will be up for grabs in the Saurashtra and South Gujarat regions, a total of 977 candidates will test their fate including the current Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. Saurashtra and Kutch will be two most imperative regions for both the parties as they count for the maximum number of seats in the first phase of the Gujarat Assembly polls. The party asserting its dominance in the two regions would most likely be the top contender of forming a government in the state. With a total of 11 districts, Saurashtra comprises of districts like Jamnagar, Porbandar, Bhavnagar and Amreli with large population share. Meanwhile, Kutch is the largest district with 10 talukas, 939 villages and six municipalities.

Both PM Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi have left no stone unturned in their determined campaigning across the state. The two leaders have regularly targeted each other on major issues. Gandhi during his campaigns had met traders and businessmen of the region who complained about GST and demonetisation following which the Congress leader bashed the BJP government and also started a Twitter campaign, asking a question every day to PM Modi on the issues of corruption and poverty in his state.

Meanwhile, PM Modi and BJP president Amit Shah left no opportunity of launching attacks on Rahul Gandhi; from questioning is abilities as a political leader to bashing him on the basis of his religion. The Congress lost Amethi in the recently concluded Uttar Pradesh civic polls to BJP, which gave more fodder to the BJP as they slammed the Congress and Gujarat public were told to learn from Amethi.

Rahul Gandhi also brought up the case of Amit Shah’s son Jay Amit Shah, whose company allegedly made a profit of over Rs 80 crore starting off from a mere Rs 50,000. It is now on the public to carefully vote for the one they think deserve their bet. Also, Rahul Gandhi has successfully crafted political alliance with a lot of small but significant leaders in Gujarat, Congress has ensured support from Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), an umbrella organisation of the numerically strong Patidar community, which traditionally formed the bedrock of the BJP’s support in Gujarat.OBC leader Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Mewani have also vowed for their support to Congress.

The Congress has failed to form a government in Gujarat since past 22 years and this time around the party has put in all the efforts to break the deadlock criticising BJP’s hollow development model. The second phase of the elections is lined up on December 14 and the counting will begin on December 18.