AHMEDABAD — Polling for the first phase of the Gujarat Assembly polls started at 8 a.m. on Thursday as 788 candidates fight for the 89 seats in 19 districts.
The voting will continue till 5 p.m. Long queues were visible in the rural as well as urban areas.
The voters of Saurashtra and Kutch will be voting on 54 seats, and those in South Gujarat will vote for 35 MLAs.
Bigwigs whose fate will be sealed in the EVM in the first phase includes education minister Jitu Vaghani, finance minister Kanu Desai, agriculture minister Raghavji Patel, minister of state for home Harsh Sanghvi, former civil supplies minister Jayesh Radadiya.
From the Congress, former leader of opposition Paresh Dhanani, former GPCC president Arjun Modhvadia, party’s three working presidents — Lalit Kagathra, Ambrish Der and Rutvik Makwana — are contesting the polls.
Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called upon the people in Gujarat to vote enthusiastically. He tweeted: “Today is the first phase of the Gujarat elections. I call upon all those voting today, particularly first time voters to exercise their franchise in record numbers.”
Union Home Minister Amit Shah also made an appeal to the voters to vote with unprecedented enthusiasm and numbers to continue the development of the state.
According to Election Commission (EC), approximately 4.92 per cent voters have cast their votes in the first hour of polling in Gujarat on Thursday.
The tribal belt was sowing an enthusiastic response to voting. Dangs recorded 7.76 per cent voting and 7.25 per cent was recorded in Tapi till 9 a.m.
According to ECI data, lowest voting was recorded in Porbandar district at 3.92 per cent, Jamnagar has 4.42 per cent, Bharuch 4.57 per cent, Botad (4.62 per cent), and Bhavnagar (4.71 per cent). — IANS