The final phase of the Gujarat polls across 93 seats on Monday, recorded a turnout of 61.1 percent. This is 9 percent lower than the 2017 figures. The first phase recorded a turnout of 63.3 percent.
The countryside fared better, somewhat making up for the cities’ indifference to polls. State chief electoral officer P Bharathi said the final figure was likely to be around 62 percent, which would still be nearly 8 percent less compared to the second-phase turnout five years ago.
Tharad and Deodar in rural Banaskantha topped the turnout stakes with 78 percent and 74 percent respectively. In the 23 urban seats of Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Gandhinagar, the slump in voting was stark, dropping to 52.5 percent. Ahmedabad fared the worst (51.4 percent) among the three, followed by Vadodara (54.53 percent) and Gandhinagar (52 percent).
The tribal belt, traditionally a high-turnout zone, disappointed as well. The 13 tribal seats together toted up 58.4 percent voting, plunging from 67.6 percent in the second phase five years ago. The six SC seats didn’t do any better, dropping to 57.5 percent.
Stray incidents of violence were also reported in Panchmahal and Dahod, with Congress candidate Prabhatsinh Chauhan’s car being pelted with stones after friction between party workers in a village he was visiting to verify complaints about bogus voting. A Congress worker was stabbed in Magalar village during a quarrel with alleged BJP rivals in a polling booth. Pirozepur village near Vadgam witnessed an altercation between BJP and Congress workers.
Congress alleged that the government machinery facilitated slow voting and electoral malpractice at several booths across 15 seats.
A clutch of big names that include CM Bhupendra Patel and eight ministerial colleagues, besides caste-agitation leaders Hardik Patel, Jignesh Mevani and Alpesh Thakor, are among the 833 candidates seeking election from seats spread across the central and north Gujarat districts.
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