Gujarat Assembly polls phase-1: 34.65 per cent voter turnout till 1 pm
Out of the 19 districts where polling was underway on Thursday, Tapi recorded the highest voter turnout at 46.29 per cent till 1 pm
An average voter turnout of 34.65 per cent was recorded till 1 pm on Thursday in the first phase of the Gujarat Assembly elections underway in 89 seats across 19 districts of Saurashtra-Kutch and southern regions, the Election Commission said.
Voting began at 8 am and 33 ballot units, 29 control units and 69 voter verifiable paper audit trails (VVPATs) were replaced in the first three hours of polling at different stations due to malfunctioning, the office of the state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) said.
As many as 26,269 ballot units, 25,430 control units and 25,430 VVPATs were being used in polling stations across the 19 districts where voting was being held in the first phase to decide the fate of 788 candidates. Even as voting was underway in parts of the state, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed rallies at Kalol in Panchmahal and Chhota Udepur, where elections will be held in the second phase on December 5.
Out of the 19 districts where polling was underway on Thursday, Tapi recorded the highest voter turnout at 46.29 per cent till 1 pm, followed by Dang 46.22 per cent and Narmada 46.16 per cent. All these districts are tribal-dominated.
Porbandar recorded the lowest turnout of 30.06 per cent and Botad reported 30.12 per cent voting during the period. The voting percentage in Surat stood at 33.40 per cent and in Rajkot at 32.89 per cent.
"Around 0.1 per cent ballot units, 0.1 per cent control units and 0.3 per cent VVPATs were replaced in three hours of voting. Reserve machine sets are available in all districts with the zonal officer in-charge of that area. Wherever a small or big problem occurs, arrangements have been made to replace them in no time," the state CEO's office said in a release.
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former chief minister Vijay Rupani, state BJP chief CR Patil, Rajya Sabha member Parimal Nathwani, BJP candidate from Jamnagar (North) Rivaba Jadeja, former Congress leader of opposition Paresh Dhanani, state Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) president Gopal Italia were among those who voted in the early hours of polling.
Rivaba Jadeja voted at a polling booth in Rajkot, while her husband and cricketer Ravindra Jadeja voted in Jamnagar.
Congress leader Dhanani, contesting from Amreli seat, and AAP's Rajkot-South candidate Dinesh Joshi paddled their way to polling stations with gas cylinders tied on the back of their bicycles to protest against inflation.
In the morning, the EC tweeted a picture of a centenarian voter, Kamuben Patel, proudly showing her inked finger after casting her vote at a polling station in Umbergaon Assembly constituency in Valsad district.