Gujarat registered its highest ever voter turnout at 71.30 per cent in the assembly elections held on December 13 and 17, surpassing the previous high of 64.70 per cent recorded in the 1995 elections, officials said here on Tuesday after updating the figures.

While 70.75 per cent votes were polled in the first phase of elections on December 13, the second and final phase of voting yesterday recorded 71.85 per cent turnout, Additional Chief Electoral Officer Ashok Manek told PTI.

He attributed the high voter turnout to the extensive voter awareness campaign undertaken by the Election Commission and the media which, time and again, reminded the electorate about their responsibility to exercise their franchise.

In the 2002 assembly elections, held in the aftermath of the post—Godhra riots, 61.55 per cent votes were polled and BJP had come to power riding on a strong pro—Hindutva wave.

In the last state assembly polls held in December 2007, the voter turnout was 59.77 per cent and BJP again romped home, winning 117 of the total of 182 seats.

The high voter turnout has perplexed political parties, who are finding it difficult to predict the outcome even as exit polls indicated a comfortable win for BJP.

(This article was published on December 18, 2012)
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