Voting will be held in 89 constituencies in Gujarat on Saturday in the first phase of the high-stakes Assembly elections. A total of 21.2 million voters are expected to cast their votes at 24,689 polling stations in Saurashtra and South Gujarat. A total of 977 candidates are contesting, including Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, BJP State president Jitu Vaghani and the Congress leaders Shaktisinh Gohil, Arjun Modhvadia and Paresh Dhanani.
Voting will start at 8 a.m. and end at 6 p.m. with arrangements to ensure smooth polling in nearly 18 districts in the two regions.
The second phase polling is on December 14 and counting, along with that of Himachal Pradesh, will be held on December 18.
9.15 a.m: Congress’s Arjun Modhvadia casts his vote in Porbandar.
8.50 a.m: Gujarat BJP President Jitu Vaghani casts his vote in Bhavnagar. Congress leader and ex MP Virji Thummar casts his ballot in Lathi constituency in Amreli district.
8.40 a.m: Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani has cast his vote in Rajkot. He also appealed to the people exercise their franchise and vote for development of Gujarat.
Of the 89 seats, the ruling BJP holds 67 and the Congress 16. One seat each is held by the NCP and JD-U while independents hold the remaining two.
Seeking to allay apprehensions regarding the integrity of the electronic voting machines, the Election Commission said it had put in place “an elaborate framework of system, security protocols and procedural checks” to prevent any “possible misuse” of the voting machines during the polling. Read more.
Inputs from Mahesh Langa, Sandeep Phukan and Vijaykumar Soneji