Nearly 60 per cent of 1.81 crore voters are estimated to have exercised their franchise in 87 Assembly constituencies in Gujarat during the first phase of elections held on Wednesday.

Polling remained peaceful across the State and there were no reports of any untoward incident disrupting the process.

As the first phase polling began at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, enthusiastic voters were seen queuing up at polling booths. By 3 p.m. about 53 per cent polling was recorded, Additional Chief Electoral officer Ashok Manek said.

In the first phase, the fate of political bigwigs such as former Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, state BJP chief R. C. Faldu and state Congress chief Arjun Modhwadia will be decided.

A total of 846 candidates were in the fray in the first phase of polls held in 48 constituencies across seven districts of the Saurashtra region, 35 seats in seven districts of South Gujarat and four rural seats in Ahmedabad district. The total number of polling booths in the first phase was 21,261.

In the second and last phase, votes will be cast for 95 Assembly constituencies on December 17 to elect the winners from amongst 820 candidates. A total of 1.99 crore voters are eligible to cast their vote in the second phase at 23,318 polling stations. Counting of votes polled in both the phases will be done on December 20 and the results will be declared the same day.

Virendra.pandit@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on December 13, 2012)
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