Gandhinagar: Over 62 per cent of the total 4.47 crore voters including 11 lakh first-timers cast their franchise to elect 26 nominees for the Lok Sabha from Gujarat. The Congress has little to lose after having lost all 26 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Official sources reported the polling as by and large peaceful though incidents of transgressions and violence were reported from some places in south Gujarat. Polling was also held alongside for four Gujarat Assembly constituencies of Manavadar, Unjha, Surendrangar and Jamnagar (rural). Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said that voter turnout clearly indicated that BJP will repeat its feat of bagging all 26 seats.
Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said that the pattern of voting with a comparatively higher turnout in both rural and tribal areas clearly indicated that Congress will do exceptionally well. S Murlikrishna, Chief Election Officer of the state said that the highest turnout of 74.9 per cent had been reported from Valsad in South Gujarat and the lowest from Amreli 55.73 per cent where leader of the Congress opposition is contesting.
Gandhinagar constituency where BJP chief Amit Shah has replaced party patriarch LK Advani, reported a voting percentage of 64.87 per cent. Gujarat, home state of PM Narendra Modi besides a galaxy of party big-wigs saw an impressive VIP turnout. Besides Modi and Shah among those who cast their votes were finance minister Arun Jaitley, NCP secretary Shankersinh Vaghela, MP
Governor Anandiben Patel, Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala, chief minister Vijay Rupani, deputy chief minister Nitin Patel and members of his cabinet. Murlikrishna said that some 25 complaints of EVM malfunctioning had been reported from various parts of the state and corrective action was initiated immediately.
There were reports of some miscreants threatening voters in Manavadar in Junagadh constituency and an FIR has been filed against three people while one of them has been arrested. Similar complaints were reported from other parts of the state and immediate action was taken, he said.
A distinctive feature of the present election was that Gujarat accounted for the highest number of ”crorepatis” in the fray and also the third-highest number of candidates with criminal backgrounds contesting the polls. The state accounted for 75 crorepati candidates of the total 371 in the fray for 26 seats while one candidate, Samsubhai Devada from Dahod had zero assets.
In terms of criminal cases, Gujarat had 58 candidates with declared criminal cases and 34 candidates with serious criminal cases. For the first time in 59 years, the state has 28 women candidates in the fray. There are seven illiterate candidates and 47 graduates.