Gandhinagar: Visible enthusiasm among voters marked the first phase of Gujarat election on Saturday as large queues lined up outside 24,689 polling booths. The Election Commission said it received several complaints against malfunctioning EVMs and VVPATs, while the Model Code of Conduct was also violated at a few places.
In the first two hours of polling in 89 constituencies spread across 19 districts of Kutch, Saurashtra and the southern region of the state, an overall 10 per cent polling was registered, a poll official said.
People showed unprecedented and overwhelming response in Rajkot and Amreli as sources said there was 16 per cent polling since 8 a.m. In Rajkot rural constituency, a video of Congress candidate Vashram Sagathia went viral. He was shown voting as one of his men recorded it on his cellphone. A complaint was registered with the Election Commission.
The poll panel also received several complaints over Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) malfunctioning in Kosamba region of Valsad district. An EVM was also tampered with in Rajkot East constituency, a compalin to the EC said.
A Congress candidate from Pardi also filed a complaint with the EC for a Voter Verification Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) not showing the paper slip while voting.
Senior Congress leader from Porbandar, Arjun Modhwadia has complained of one EVM machine connected with a WiFi.
Voting was boycotted by the villagers of Kalyanpur in Jam Jodhpur constituency opposing the unavailability of water in the region.
A total of 977 candidates are in the fray from Kutch, Morbi, Jamnagar, Surendranagar, Devbhoomi Dwarka, Rajkot, Botad, Porbandar, Junagadh, Amreli, Gir Somnath, Bhavnagar, Bharuch, Narmada, Surat, Tapi, Navsari, Dang and Valsad districts.
Of the 89 seats, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party holds 67 and the Congress 16. One seat each is held by the NCP and JD-U while independents hold the remaining two.
Polling, which began at 8 a.m., will end at 5 p.m.
Of the 2,12,31,652 voters, 1,11,05,933 are males and 1,01,25,472 females while 247 are from the third gender.
The second phase polling is on December 14 and counting, along with that of Himachal Pradesh, will be held on December 18.