A voter turnout of 58.70% was recorded in the second phase of the Gujarat Assembly polls on Monday. This phase covers 93 seats in 14 districts, including Ahmedabad and Vadodara, across north and central regions.
Voting began at 8 am on Monday and will continue till 5 pm.
In the Anand district, workers belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress scuffled at the Keshavpura polling station under the Anklav constituency, ANI reported. However, the police reportedly brought the situation under control.
On Sunday night, BJP and Congress supporters in the Danta constituency of the Banaskantha district clashed with each other after vehicles belonging to the members of both partied collided, the police said, according to PTI.
Superintendent of Police Akshayraj Makwana said that no one was injured in the incident.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi claimed that its candidate from Danta, Kantibhai Kharadi, was “brutally attacked by BJP goons” and that he had gone missing.
The superintendent of police said that it took officials a couple of hours to contact Kharadi, but added that he denied having been abducted.
Meanwhile, Vadgam MLA Jignesh Mevani claimed that there was a “conspiracy of slow voting in Muslim-dominated booths” in his constituency. He urged the Election Commission to extend the voting hours beyond 5 pm.
First phase of polling
Polling for the first phase for 89 constituencies in Saurashtra, Kutch and south Gujarat regions was held on December 1 with a voter turnout of 63.14%. The Election Commission has urged citizens in urban segments of Gujarat to vote in large numbers in the second phase to “compensate for low voting” in the first leg of the polls.
The results will be declared on December 8 along with the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections.
In the second phase, 2.5 crore voters are eligible to vote. Over 800 candidates are contesting the polls.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is looking to retain its 27-year-long rule in the state, while the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party are attempting to wrest control on matters such as inflation and unemployment.
The BJP and the Aam Aadmi Party are contesting all the 93 seats in the second phase. The Congress is contesting 90 seats and its alliance partner, the Nationalist Congress Party, in two segments. Among other parties, the Bharatiya Tribal Party has fielded 12 candidates and the Bahujan Samaj Party 44.
On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel and Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel were among those who cast their votes early in the morning in Ahmedabad, reported PTI.
Some of the prominent leaders contesting the polls include Bhupendra Patel from Ghatlodia constituency, Patidar leader Hardik Patel who is fighting on the BJP’s ticket from Viramgam and Alpesh Thakor from the Gandhinagar (South) seat.
Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani is contesting the Vadgam seat as a Congress candidate and Leader of Opposition in the Gujarat Assembly Sukhram Rathva is the nominee from Jetpur.
Meanwhile, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi alleged that the party’s candidate from Danta Assembly constituency, Kantibhai Kharadi, was attacked by “BJP goons” and has been missing.
Kharadi later alleged that the BJP candidate from the Danta constituency, Latu Parghi, and two others were following him, reported ANI. The MLA claimed they were carrying weapons and attacked him with swords.
“I was going to my area as there’s election,” he said. “I saw that the atmosphere was heated there so I decided to escape.”