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71.27 per cent voting in Jasdan by-election in Gujarat

Press Trust of India  |  Ahmedabad 

As much as 71.27 per cent voting was registered during the by-election for Jasdan Assembly constituency in Gujarat's Rajkot district Thursday, poll officials said.

No untoward incident was reported during the polling which got over at 5 pm.

Two complaints of breach of the model code of conduct are being probed, Gujarat Chief Electoral Officer S Murali Krishna said.

Three voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines were replaced due to minor glitches, he said.

"While the final figure may vary slightly, 71.27 per cent voter turnout was recorded till 5 pm," Krishna said.

"Eight complaints of breach of model code of conduct were received by election officials, of which six were disposed of and two have been taken up for investigation," he said.

One of the two complaints was about a WhatsApp message showing an electronic voting machine (EVM) with the button pressed for the lotus symbol of the BJP.

The other complaint was regarding an audio clip where the BJP candidate and Gujarat minister Kunvarji Bavaliya is purportedly heard threatening some voters. The clip was circulated on WhatsApp.

The by-poll became a battle of prestige between the ruling BJP and opposition Congress in the wake of the Congress winning Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

The election became necessary after Bavaliya, an influential Koli community leader who had won the seat on Congress ticket in 2017, joined the BJP and resigned as MLA on July 2 and was made a cabinet minister in the BJP government in the state on the same day.

The saffron party fielded him for the by-election. He has to get elected back to the Assembly within six months to continue as minister.

He is pitted against Congress' Avsar Nakiya, a Rajkot district panchayat member.

Bavaliya cast his vote at a polling booth in Vinchhiya village while Nakiya voted in his native Asalpur village.

Both expressed confidence of winning the election.

Apart from Bavaliya and Nakiya, six other candidates are in the fray.

The constituency has 2.32 lakh registered voters -- 1.22 lakh men and 1.09 lakh women.

According to the election commission figure, till 5 pm, 1.65 lakh voters, or 71.27 per cent, had exercised the franchise.

Counting of votes will take place on December 23.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, December 20 2018. 20:10 IST