Record turnout in phase I

The first phase of the Assembly elections on Thursday saw the highest-ever voter turnout in Gujarat, with 67.66% of the 1.81 crore voters casting their votes at 21,261 polling stations in 87 constituencies across Saurashtra, south Gujarat and rural Ahmedabad. The highest polling recorded earlier was 63.70 per cent in 1967 elections. In 2007, the voter turnout was 59.77 per cent.

Even in 2002, when Gujarat was riding on the pro-BJP wave, 61.55 per cent voting was recorded.

The polling on Thursday was by and large peaceful, barring a few incidents like a BJP functionary being attacked in Junagadh and 200-odd first-time voters in rural Ahmedabad complaining they had not been issued voter IDs. Also, an elderly voter in Mandal died soon after casting his vote.

With Thursday's voting, the fate of 514 candidates, including of fledgling Gujarat Parivartan Party chief Keshubhai Patel, who is Chief Minister Narendra Modi's bete noire, state BJP chief R C Faldu and state Congress chief Arjun Modhwadia, was sealed.

Constituencies like Gondal, Jasdan, Visavadar, Jetpur and Bhavnagar Rural, where heavyweights are in the fray, saw heavy polling. Patel, who is contesting from Visavadar in Junagadh district, voted in his home town of Rajkot. Constituencies dominated by Leuva Patels, like Rajkot North, Lathi and Sawarkundla, also witnessed huge voter turnouts.

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