Record turnout again, Dec 20 D-day

Monday

Phase-ii Firing incident involving BJP MLA leaves 4 hurt in otherwise peaceful polls

A record turnout of 70.20 per cent (approximately 1.40 crore voters) during the second phase as well marked the conclusion of the state Assembly elections on Monday. With 70.75 per cent turnout in the first phase, the average turnout during the two-phase polls was a little over 70 per cent, way above the highest polling so far (63.70%) recorded in 1967. The counting of votes is due on Thursday.

In the second phase today, 822 candidates, including Chief Minister Narendra Modi, were in the fray in 95 Assembly constituencies across a dozen districts in north and east Gujarat Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Dahod, Panchmahals, Kheda, Anand, Patan, Mehsana, Sabarkantha, Gandhinagar, Banaskantha besides Kutch.

Today's voting also sealed the fate of other political heavyweights like Amit Shah, ministers Anandiben Patel and Saurabh Patel, and former CM Shankersinh Vaghela.

Also in the fray is Jagruti Pandya, wife of slain BJP leader Haren Pandya. She has been fielded by Keshubhai Patel's Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) from Ellis Bridge seat in Ahmedabad, which went to polls today.

In Modi's constituency of Maninagar, the turnout was around 71%.

After casting his vote at a polling booth at a high school in Ranip, Modi, who is seeking a third term, told reporters, "I thank all the voters. In this election, people of Gujarat will make a hat-trick by giving a third term to us." Modi is locked in a direct contest with the Congress candidate Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt.

Congress also thanked voters for the high turnout and claimed "the enlightened people of Gujarat have voted in the party's favour and shown anger against the corruption and unjust policies of the BJP".

Veteran BJP leader L K Advani and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitely were among the prominent voters.

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