Friday, 14 December 2012

Gujarat polls 2012 phase 1: 68% voting recorded

Gujarat polls 2012 phase 1: 68% voting recorded
Clean Media Correspondent

Ahemdabad, Dec 13 (CMC) An average 68% voting was recorded till 5pm of polling across 87 constituencies in the first phase of Gujarat Assembly polls which will decide the fate of big-wigs like Keshubhai Patel, BJP's RC Faldu and Congress' Arjun Modhwadia. 

"An average 68 percent polling has been recorded till 5pm," Additional Chief Electoral officer Ashok Manek told reporters. 

Till 11am, voter turnout in the 87 constituencies was a moderate 18%, but in the following two hours, it increased to 38%. 

Even after noon, long queues were seen outside many polling booths as people were still coming to exercise their franchise. 

The polling began at 8 am this morning amidst unprecedented security. 

With 22% turnout in south Gujarat, Saurashtra and Ahmedabad (rural) in the first few hours, Gujarat Parivartan party (GPP) led by Keshubhai was reported to be doing well. 

The Gujarat Parivartan party (GPP) chief Keshubhai Patel today expressed confidence that his party will get an overwhelming majority in this election. “We are going to get a full majority,” he said, adding, “Ruling BJP will lose badly in the Saurashtra region.” 

The GPP chief said this after casting his vote in Visavadar where he is pitted against BJP’s Kanu Bhalala. 

Chief Minister Narendra Modi today urged the voters to come out and cast their precious votes. Modi appealed to voters using his Twitter handle that read: “A vote is the foundation of a strong and vibrant democracy. I urge you all to exercise your franchise.” 

Modi’s arch-rival Keshubhai Patel (Visavadar), State Congress president Arjun Modhwadia (Porbandar), Ahmed Patel (Bharuch) of Congress, Chandu Vaghasia (Gondal) of the NCP and RC Faldu (BJP) were among the senior leaders, who cast their votes early morning. 

The polling is taking place in 48 Assembly constituencies in seven districts of Saurashtra, on 35 seats in five districts of southern Gujarat and on four in Ahmedabad district. 

Polling has been by and large peaceful in the most of the areas but there were reports of a clash between Congress and BJP workers outside a polling booth in Valsad. 

Out of total 1,81,77,953 voters, there are 95,75,278 male, 86,02,557 female and 118 other voters.

For this phase, BJP has fielded candidates on all 87 seats going to the poll, whereas Congress is contesting on 84 and GPP on 83. 

48 seats in Surendranagar, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Porbandar, Jamnagar, Amreli and Bhavnagar are considered very crucial and decisive as political observers are watching keenly on how Keshubhai Patel factor plays out in the region. 

Voters will also decide the fate of many state political big-wigs who are contesting elections like Keshubhai Patel, Assembly Speaker Ganpat Vasava, Gujarat BJP president RC Faldu, state Congress president Arjun Modhwadia and Leader of Opposition Shaktisinh Gohil. 

State ministers like Vajubhai Vala, Vasuben Trivedi, Narottam Patel, Mangubhai Patel, Purshottam Solanki, Kiritsinh Rana, Dilip Sanghani, Kanubhai Bhalala, Mohan Kundaria and Ranjit Gilitvala will also be awaiting their fate following today’s voting. 

Apart from these three major parties, there are total 26 political parties and 383 independents in the fray, which include BJP rebel and sitting MLA Kanubhai Kalsaria, who has formed a new forum – Sadbhavna Manch – and fielded six candidates.

Today’s voting will also decide if Leuva Patel, a politically powerful sub-community of Patidars, will be swayed by the appeals and behind the curtain efforts to vote against Modi, on the grounds of alleged injustice meted out to their leader Keshubhai Patel. 

About 1,81,77,953 voters are expected to decide the fate of 846 candidates in the first phase. 

Among the 846 candidates, 46 female candidates too are in the fray and in the first phase of elections there are 9 such Assembly constituencies where more than one woman candidate is contesting this time. 

Forty sitting MLAs from BJP and 16 from Congress are also contesting to retain representation in the State Assembly. 

This phase will also see important contests on Visavadar where Keshubhai Patel is pitted against BJP’s Kanu Bhalala. In Kutiyana, son of ‘God Mother’ Santokhben Jadeja and NCP candidate Kandhal is contesting against Karsan Dula Odedara. 

In another interesting contest, Leader of Opposition Shaktisinh Gohil is facing Fisheries Minister Purushottam Solanki. 

Fate of three Congress MPs, Vithhal Radadia (Dhoraji), Kunvarji Bavalia (Botad) and Somabhai Patel (Limbadi), will be sealed on Thursday as they are also contesting this Assembly election. 

Important seats: Surendranagar, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Porbandar, Amreli and Bhavngar. Visavadar, Dhoraji, Botad, Limbadi etc. 

Top contenders: Keshubhai Patel, Ganpat Vasava, RC Faldu, Arjun Modhwadia and Shaktisinh Gohil, Vithhal Radadia (Dhoraji), Kunvarji Bavalia (Botad) and Somabhai Patel (Limbadi), Kanu Bhalala, Santokhben Jadeja, Karsan Dula Odedara, Kanubhai Kalsaria, Vajubhai Vala, Vasuben Trivedi, Narottam Patel, Mangubhai Patel, Purshottam Solanki, Kiritsinh Rana, Dilip Sanghani, Kanubhai Bhalala, Mohan Kundaria and Ranjit Gilitvala among others. 

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