Polling closes for first phase of Guj elections

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Ahmedabad, Dec 11: Polling in 87 constituencies of Saurashtra and South Gujarat for the first phase of elections to the Gujarat Assembly ended this evening.

No official figures on the polling were available as yet, though reports from various constituencies gave an estimate of over 50 per cent voter turnout.

A heavy security cover was thrown around the 58 constituencies of Saurashtra-Kutch and 29 in South Gujarat, that went to polls today.

Over 52,000 central paramilitary forces had been stationed at the booths.

Barring a stray incident in Rajkot, where a BJP worker was stabbed by a group of assailants near a poling booth, polling passed off peacefully.

Polling began on a slow note but picked up pace as the day progressed in Saurashtra and South Gujarat. A total of 19,924 polling booths had been set up to enable the 17.9 million voters to cast their ballot. The fate of 669 candidates in the fray were locked up in ballot boxes today.

At noon, South Gujarat reported 30.2 per cent polling and in the last three hours, it became more brisk.

In Kutch, there was a low voter turnout in the early hours, which increased in the later part of the day.

Women turned out in large numbers to cast their votes in rural parts of Saurashtra.

Polling in six booths were affected due to faulty EVMs, for which replacements were sent. While three EVMs developed snags in Rajkot, two were found defective in Porbandar and one in Jetpur.

Over 2500 visually impaired persons cast their ballots with the help of EVMs equipped with Braille, in Saurashtra, said Labhubhai Sonai, of the National Association for Blind.

Prominent among those whose political fortunes will be decided today are state Ministers Vajubhai Vala(Rajkot II), Water Resources Minister Narottam Patel (Chorasi), Urban Development Minister I K Jadeja (Dhrangadhra), Leader of Opposition Arjun Modhvadiya (Porbandar), and Minister of Finance for State Saurabh Dalal from Botad (Bhavnagar).


UNI

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