Voting in 89 constituencies out of 182 in Gujarat began at 8 am and ended at 5 pm on Saturday. More than 2 crore eligible voters will decide the fate of 977 candidates in the first phase of the Assembly elections.
Vipul Goti, an Election Commission official, told ANI that two machines and one VVPAT had been replaced. “You cannot really call it a technical error, these are electronic items and there can be some issues sometimes,” he said. “Now everything is okay and voting has resumed.”
Meanwhile, leaders have continued campaigning for the second phase of the election.
Here is what happened through the day:
6.40 pm: A voter turnout of 68% was recorded, ANI reported.
6.30 pm: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley calls reports of malfunctioning voting machines baseless, and says it is part of “preparation for upcoming defeat”.
5.15 pm: Around 60.1% of voters cast their ballot by 4 pm, The Indian Express reported.
3.25 pm: A voter turnout of 35.52% has been recorded up to 2 pm.
3.15 pm: Rajiv Gandhi, Modi tells the crowd, had said that of every rupee allocated for projects, only 15 paisa reaches the villages. “Rajiv Gandhi diagnosed this disease, while Modi removed it. Now, tell me do you want a doctor who will diagnose the disease or a doctor who will provide the cure?”
3.10 pm: Narendra Modi, addressing a rally in Anand, says the Congress is synonymous with corruption.
2.50 pm: An Election Commission team is at a polling booth in Thakkar Plot, Porbandar, to look into complaints of EVMs being connected to mobile phones via bluetooth.
2.44 pm: Rahul Gandhi accuses BJP rule in the state of benefiting only a few industrialists.
2 pm: The BJP’s Jitendra Singh says that the Congress is claiming that EVMs are faulty because they are preparing to blame their defeat on the machines, ANI reported.
1.30 pm: Modi, who is now campaigning in Bodeli town in Chhota Udaipur district, says that the Congress is unable to identify with what the tribal and farmer communities want.
12.22 pm: The Congress has misled the Muslim community in every part of the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says in Lunawada town of Mahisagar district. Modi accuses the Opposition party of making fake promises of reservations for Muslims and not fulfilling them.
Security was heightened in the state with over 1,74,000 police personnel deployed to ensure smooth conduct of the voting process. Personnel from the Central Armed Police Forces and State Armed Police have been deployed to aide the state police force, according to the Election Commission.
Voting takes place on Saturday in a total of 24,689 polling stations where closed-circuit television footage cameras have been installed for surveillance.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has fielded 89 candidates in the first phase, while the Congress has fielded 87 candidates. Sixty-four candidates of the Bahujan Samaj Party will contest in the first phase. There are 443 independent candidates in the fray.
The second phase of polling in the state will be held on December 14, while the votes will be counted on December 18.
The elections will be held on Saturday in the districts of Kutch, Morbi, Jamnagar, Surendranagar, Devbhoomi Dwarka, Rajkot, Botad, Porbandar, Junagadh, Amreli, Gir Somnath, Bhavnagar, Bharuch, Narmada, Surat, Tapi, Navsari, Dang and Valsad.
Surat has the maximum number of constituencies with all 16 going to polls. Karanj in Surat district is the smallest constituency.
Prominent candidates in the fray on Saturday include Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, who is contesting against the Congress’ outgoing MLA Indranil Rajyaguru from Rajkot East constituency. In Amreli, which is dominated by the Patidar community, outgoing Congress MLA Paresh Dhanani has been pitted against the BJP’s Bavkubhai Undhad – both strong Patel candidates.
Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil is fielded against the BJP’s Virendrasinh Jadeja from Mandvi, while senior Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia is up against the BJP’s Babu Bokhiria.
Sitting MLA of Jhagadia constitutency Chhotubhai Vasava is fielded against long-time protege, who defected to the BJP, Ravjibhai Vasava. Chhotubhai Vasava was expelled from the Janata Dal (United) and is now contesting as a candidate of the Bharatiya Tribal Party.
Gujarat’s OBC leader Alpesh Thakore, who joined the Congress in October, is contesting gtom Radhanpur. Meanwhile, Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani is contesting from Vadgam as an Independent.
Young Patidar voters split between the Congress and BJP