Tribal voters hit a new high
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Tribals have emerged as top voters in the first phase of the assembly polls held Thursday as most seats in tribal-dominated constituencies witnessed over 80% voting, much above the average 70.75 per cent turnout recorded across the 87 constituencies.
As many as 14 constituencies out of 27 reserved for ST candidates went to polls along with 73 other constituencies.
Dediapada constituency in Narmada district recorded the highest voters' turnout at 88.31 per cent.
Other ST-reserved seats that witnessed over 80% voting were Kaprada in Valsad, Nijhar in Tapi, Jhagadia in Bharuch, Vansda in Navsari and Mangrol in Surat.
The voting pattern of the last four polls shows there has been a sharp jump in the turnout in these constituencies, which tribal activists see as a healthy sign for the state.
In no assembly elections held in 2007, 2002 and 1998 the tribal voting percentage had gone above 70% in these constituencies, barring Dediapada, which saw 70.8% voting in 2007.
In the 1985 assembly elections when tribal leader Amarsinh Chaudhary became the chief minister, these constituencies had witnessed very low turnout, with seats like Jhagadia and Mangrol witnessing 32.95% and 32.23% voting, respectively.
In 2007, out of the 26 ST-reserved seats, Congress had emerged victorious on 14 seats, BJP on 11 and JD(U) on one.
Vyara in Tapi district and Nijhar have been won by the Congress in in 2007, 2002 and 1998 while the BJP has won the Mangrol seat twice.