Gujarat elections 2017: First phase records 68% turnout

| Updated on: Dec 09, 2017
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Preliminary estimates suggested about 68 per cent voter turnout at the close of the polling hours in the first phase of voting for the Gujarat assembly elections. The voting, held on Saturday during 8 am to 5 pm remained peaceful barring a few incidents of technical malfunctioning of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

The final figures of voter turnout will be released by the Election Commission later in the evening.

In 2012 assembly elections, the first phase had registered 70.74 per cent voter turnout.

Voting was held for the 89 seats of 19 districts of Saurashtra and South Gujarat region including Kutch, Surendranagar, Morbi, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Dwarka, Porbandar, Junagadh, Gir Somnath, Amreli, Bhavnagar, Botad, Narmada, Bharuch, Surat, Tapi, Dangs, Navsari and Valsad having over 2.123 crore registered voters.

Total 977 including 58 female candidates were in the fray. While the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) fielded 89 candidates and Congress had 86 candidates apart besides 442 independent candidates.

Those running for the assembly in the first phase included the chief minister Vijay Rupani, Gujarat BJP chief Jitu Vaghani, former Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) chief Arjun Modhwadia, Siddharth Patel and Shaktisinh Gohil is now sealed in the EVMs.

For the 89 seats in the first, the Election Commission (EC) used 27,158 EVMs with voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) at total 24,689 polling stations.

As per the official figures, till 4 pm, the voter turnout was registered at 60.16 per cent.

EVM technical glitches

Incidents of EVM malfunctioning and technical glitches delayed the voting process. Earlier in the day, Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia alleged EVMs getting connected to mobile devices through bluetooth technology. However, after investigation it was found to be a false alarm and the Gujarat chief electoral officer B B Swain discharged the complain. "Our duty is to look into every single complaint raised regarding the voting. We rushed our staff and senior officials at the spot and found that there was a confusion due to some other mobile device showing names similar to the EC. The complaint has been discharged," Swain said.

Out of the 89 seats, Saurashtra districts have 48 seats, while six seats fall under Kutch district and remaining 35 are from the South Gujarat region.

In 2012, out of the 89 seats, BJP had secured 63 seats, while Congress had won 24 seats. One seat each went to JD (U) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

After the high-octanne campaigning by the Congress party and their ally Patidar reservation hero, HArdik Patel, political observers consider the South Gujarat region crucial for both the parties. The textiles and chemicals industry in Surat and adjoining regions were among the sectors upset with the ruling party for the ill-implemented national tax - GST.

In Saurashtra, political rallies revolved around farmers and farm distress. The hotbed of cotton and groundnut crop, farmers in Saurashtra hold the key to victory for the political parties.

Published on January 27, 2018

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