Around 60 per cent votes have been polled till 4 pm for the first phase of Gujarat elections as people are coming out in droves to practice their franchise, reports said.
Some of the constituencies that saw high voting included Navsari (67%), Tapi (65%), Narmada (65%) and Gir Somnath (63%).
According to media reports, there’s a sizebale chunk of young voters that have made a beeline for the polling booths in the first phase of polling across 89 constituencies in 19 districts of Kutch, Saurashtra and southern regions.
While the Congress termed the brisk polling a sign of people’s anger towards the incumbent BJP government, which has been in power for the last 22 years, the BJP saw the large turnout as mobilisation of their core supporters.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi too urged voters especially youngsters to turnout in large numbers.
A total of 977 candidates are in the fray from Kutch, Morbi, Jamnagar, Surendranagar, Devbhoomi Dwarka, Rajkot, Botad, Porbandar, Junagadh, Amreli, Gir Somnath, Bhavnagar, Bharuch, Narmada, Surat, Tapi, Navsari, Dang and Valsad districts.
Of the 89 seats, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party holds 67 and the Congress 16. One seat each is held by the NCP and JD-U while independents hold the remaining two.
Polling, which began at 8 am, will end at 5 pm. There are a total of 24,689 polling booths.
Of the 2,12,31,652 voters, 1,11,05,933 are males and 1,01,25,472 females while 247 are from the third gender.
The second phase polling is on December 14 and counting, along with that of Himachal Pradesh, will be held on December 18.
Prominent among those who cast their votes were cricketer Cheteshwar Pujara and senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Ahmed Patel.
Glitches in EVMs
Meanwhile, the poll panel also received several complaints over Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) malfunctioning in Kosamba region of Valsad district. An EVM was also tampered with in Rajkot East constituency, a compalint to the EC said.
Technical glitches were reported in at least 33 EVMs at Rajkot during the polling for the first phase on Saturday. Similar reports were coming from isolated places in Varachha and Surat.
A Congress candidate from Pardi also filed a complaint with the EC for a Voter Verification Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) not showing the paper slip while voting.
Senior Congress leader from Porbandar, Arjun Modhwadia has complained of one EVM machine connected with a WiFi.
Voting was boycotted by the villagers of Kalyanpur in Jam Jodhpur constituency opposing the unavailability of water in the region.
(With inputs from agencies)