Voting on 87 constituencies for the first phase of Gujarat Assembly elections began today amidst tight security where Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is seeking a fourth term.
The constituencies where polling started include 48 in seven districts of Saurashtra, 35 seats in five districts of south Gujarat and four seats in Ahmedabad district.
A total of 846 candidates are in fray. For this phase, BJP has fielded candidates on all 87 seats going to the poll, whereas Congress is contesting on 84 and Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) on 83 seats.
The Election Commission (EC) has made robust security arrangements to ensure that voting is carried out peacefully by deploying security forces in the areas going to polls in first phase.
Out of total 1,81,77,953 voters, there are 95,75,278 males, 86,02,557 females and 118 other voters who are likely to use their franchise.
EC has set up 21,261 polling stations and will use the same number of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the first phase elections.
Fourty-eight seats in Surendranagar, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Porbandar, Jamnagar, Amreli and Bhavngar are considered very crucial as political observers are watching very keenly on how former Chief Minister and 'bete noir' of Modi, Keshubhai Patel factor plays out in the region.
Fate of many state political big-wigs who are contesting elections like Keshubhai Patel, Assembly Speaker Ganpat Vasava, Gujarat BJP president R C Faldu, state Congress president Arjun Modhwadia and Leader of Opposition Shaktisinh Gohil will be decided today.