Gujarat recorded 68.70% voter turnout in the second and final phase of the Gujarat Assembly elections on Thursday, ANI reported. Voting ended at 5 pm on Thursday. Polling was held in 93 constituencies across 14 districts of North and Central Gujarat.
Electronic voting machines at three polling stations in Vadodara city malfunctioned, News18 reported. The Election Commission has now replaced the machines.
In Savli, Waghodia, Padra, Akota and Vadodara city Assembly constituencies, which fall under Vadodara district, the polling officials recorded zero percent voting till 10 am, The Indian Express reported. They say this is because the votes had not been tallied.
An electronic voting machine at Sodhaliya village in Chhota Udaipur remained dysfunctional for 50 minutes during which time voting was halted, polling officer Gaurang Rana told ANI. Polling resumed after the machine was repaired. Voting was stalled at a village in Aravalli district because of a glitch in the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail machine, reported the Hindustan Times.
Gujarat Chief Electoral Officer BB Swain said that 1.63% of Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail machines had been replaced after mock polls. He added that 50% less EVMs were replaced in phase 2 of the Assembly elections. “Our target remains to replace the faulty machines as soon as possible,” he added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi cast his vote at booth number 115 in Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati area amid much fanfare. However, Swain said the Election Commission was looking into a complaint by the Congress against Modi’s “roadshow” after he voted.
Bharatiya Janata Party National President Amit Shah, Modi’s mother Heeraben, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitinbhai Patel, former Congress leader Shankarsinh Vaghela and parents of Patidar leader Hardik Patel cast their votes early in the day.
“I appeal the people of Gujarat to vote in huge numbers and continue the journey of development,” Jaitley said after voting.
A total of 851 candidates are in the fray for the second phase of the elections. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has fielded candidates on all 93 seats while the Congress has fielded 91.
In an early morning tweet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged people to vote.
The first phase of voting had concluded on December 9. The turnout for that phase was 68%. The results of the Assembly elections will be declared on December 18.
Campaigning for the second phase of the Gujarat elections hit a high pitch over the past week. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday claimed that suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar held a “secret meeting” with Pakistani officials on December 6, and that the party’s leaders had discussed the Gujarat elections with them.
This evoked a strong response from former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who said the prime minister was spreading “falsehoods” to “score political points”. Singh said Modi was “setting a dangerous precedent by his insatiable desire to tarnish every constitutional office, including that of a former prime minister and Army chief”.