Final voter turnout for the first phase of the Gujarat assembly elections stood at 66.75 per cent, as released by the Election Commission
(EC) on Sunday. The early turnout was pegged at 68 per cent, as against the record first phase turnout of 70.75 per cent in the 2012 elections.
The first phase of Gujarat polls saw 89 out of the 182 constituencies in the state voting on Saturday, December 9 to decide the fate of 977 candidates.
As per EC, the voting which was held between 8 am and 5 pm, remained peaceful except for a few incidents of technical malfunctioning of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). In fact, led by its senior leader Arjun Modhwadia, Congress even raised issues of EVMs being allegedly tampered with using mobile devices through bluetooth technology. However, an investigation by EC found the same to be a false alarm.
Around 19 districts voted in the first phase, including Surendranagar, Morbi, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Dwarka, Porbandar, Junagadh, Gir Somnath, Amreli, Bhavnagar, Botad, Narmada, Bharuch, Surat, Tapi, Dangs, Navsari, and Valsad, apart from Kutch, covering over 21.23 milion registered voters.
Of the total 89 constituencies in the first phase, while Saurashtra region comprised 48 seats, South Gujarat consisted of 35, with rest six being in Kutch region.
Amongst the districts, Narmada district recorded the highest turnout in the first phase of 79.15 per cent, while Devbhumi Dwarka district posted the lowest at 59.39 per cent.
Districts such as Surat, Rajkot and Morbi, which have been crucial this election due to Patidar agitation as well as dissent over demonetisation and Goods & Services Tax (GST), saw a final voter turnout of 66.39 per cent, 66.78 per cent and 73.19 per cent respectively. As against this, the said districts had reported a turnout of 69.58 per cent, 71 per cent and 74.19 per cent, respectively in the previous elections in 2012.
In all, 27,158 electronic voting machines (EVMs) were used at 24,689 polling stations by EC.
In terms of constituencies, Dediapada, which is a reserved seat for scheduled tribe (ST) in Narmada saw the highest voter turnout at 84.63 per cent, while Gandhidham, a reserved seat for scheduled caste (SC) in Kutch registered the lowest at 54.18 per cent.
The ruling party, Bharatiya Janata Party
(BJP) contested 89 candidates while Congress fielded 86, followed by independent candidates and those candidates from National Congress Party (NCP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and others. Key candidates contesting in the first phase of the assembly elections included Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, state BJP chief Jitu Vaghani, former Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) chief Arjun Modhwadia and Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil.
Total 977 including 58 female candidates were in the fray. While the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) fielded 89 candidates and Congress had 86 candidates besides the 442 independent candidates and the candidates from other parties including NCP, BSP, AAP.
Meanwhile, at Gajadi, a small village in Morbi, citizens staged an en masse boycott, citing lack of basic amenities such as electricity, water, and roads. The village has about 1,065 voters, none of whom turned up to cast their votes.