An average 19.13 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the first three hours of polling underway on Thursday for the first phase of the Gujarat Assembly elections in 89 seats, the Election Commission said. Congress leader Paresh Dhanani, the candidate from Amreli seat, and Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) Rajkot-South seat nominee Dinesh Joshi paddled their way to polling stations with gas cylinders tied on the back of their bicycles as a mark of protest against inflation.
The EC in the morning tweeted a picture of a centenarian voter, Kamuben Patel, proudly showing her inked finger after casting her vote at a polling station in Umbergaon Assembly constituency in Valsad district. Those who voted in the initial hours of polling included senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, state BJP chief CR Paatil, Rajya Sabha member Parimal Nathwani, BJP candidate from Jamnagar (North) Rivaba Jadeja, Congress’s former leader of opposition Paresh Dhanani and state AAP president Gopal Italia.
While Rivaba Jadeja voted at a polling booth in Rajkot, her husband and cricketer Ravindra Jadeja exercised his franchise in Jamnagar. Voting began at 8 am across 19 districts of Saurashtra-Kutch and southern regions to decide the fate of 788 candidates contesting in the first phase.
Till 11 am, Tapi district recorded the highest turnout 26.47 per cent, followed by Dang – 24.99 per cent.
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Devbhumi Dwarka district recorded the lowest 15.86 per cent turnout so far, the EC said in its latest update.
In Surat district, 17.92 per cent polling was recorded, while in Amreli it was 19 per cent.
Seat-wise, Nizar in Tapi district recorded the highest turnout during the period at 27.15 per cent, while Anjar in Kutch district reported the lowest turnout of 11.39 per cent.