Massive turnout for Gujarat first phase polls amid EVM complaints
Gandhinagar: Around 50 per cent voting was recorded by late afternoon on Saturday for the first phase of Gujarat Assembly polls, while complaints about malfunctioning Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) continued to come in.
The voter turnout this time is unprecedented and there is even speculation that it might surpass the 90 per cent mark.
At 3 p.m., the voting percentage was around 50 per cent.
The poll percentage at 2 p.m. was: in Valsad-48, Kaprada-42, Tankara-54, Morbi-49, Botad-45, Gadhda-39, Umargaon-45, Vankaner-53, Jamnagar overall-40, Jam Jodhpur-40, Surat-44, Dang-25-30, Porbandar-38 to 44, Jamnagar- 36 to 40, Surendranagar- 50 to 55. Navsari too registered more than 50 per cent voting.
Surprisingly, Rajkot which is known for its 'siesta time' from 1 to 4 in the afternoon, registered around 40-45 per cent voting with people seen queuing up in the afternoon to vote. Rajkot's Visavadar saw their voter, former Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, exercise his rights coming all the way from his residence in Gandhinagar.
Villagers of Limdi village in Surendranagar district have boycotted the elections over their various grievances.
In Surat, in many of the Patidar dominated areas, posters emerged with photographs of the dead Patidar youth, killed during and after the Patidar agitation on the GMDC ground on August 25, 2015, reading "Don't forget the sacrifice of these martyrs and uproot the BJP".
Malfunctioning of EVM machines was reported in Sattapar village in Anjar constituency and the polling process had to be halted.
Reacting to allegations by senior Congress leader about EVMs linked to Bluetooth devices in Porbandar, the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Gujarat, B.B. Swain said: "We received the complaint with screenshots about the linkage of EVM with WiFi or Bluetooth devices. So we rushed the collector, Porbandar, and our observers from the Election Commission of India (ECI) to the place. Their scrutiny says that there was no merit in the complaint by Arjun Modhwadia."
The reasons for the high turnout can be attributed to the intense drive carried out by the ECI, though both the political parties -- ruling BJP and Congress - claim the massive public support for their party is the reason for the high turnout.