According to district election office sources, though the polling started on a dull note at 0800 hrs because of the chilly weather conditions, it soon picked up with people turning up in large numbers, both in urban and rural areas to exercise their franchise.In the city, which has three assembly seats--Raopura, Wadi and Sayajiganj, voters, including women, were seen standing in long queues before the polling booths to cast their votes.
Predicting heavy percentage of polling in all the 13 seats, election office sources claimed that polling, which began amid tight police bandobast across the district, had remained peaceful till noon. There was also no report of poll boycott by voters from any parts of the district.
In the largest Sayajiganj constituency in Vadodara city, where government chief whip Jitendra Sukhodia is contesting for his second term, several voters reportedly complained to the authorities after polling staff did not allow them to cast their votes without photo identity cards.
The authorities have set up 2885 polling booths and deployed 89 companies of the Central Para-Military Forces (CPMF) across the district to enable 27,20,413 voters to exercise their franchise in a peaceful manner.
Besides Sukhodia, other prominent candidates in the fray are primary education minister Bhupendra Lakhawala (Raopura), Best Bakery case related Madhu Srivastava (Waghodia), cine actor Naresh Kanodia (Karjan) (all from BJP), and BSP general secretary Nalin Bhatt (Sayajiganj) and former chief minister Chimanbhai Patel's son Siddharth Patel (Dabhoi).
In the 2002 elections, the BJP had swept the polls winning all the 13 seats in the district, the second highest score after Ahmedabad.