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Gujarat Elections 2022: Over 59 per cent turnout till 5 pm in first phase, fate of 788 candidates sealed | 10 highlights

An average voter turnout of 59.24 per cent was recorded as of 5 pm on Thursday across 89 Assembly seats in the first phase of Gujarat elections. The remaining 93 seats will go to polls in the second phase on December 5 and the votes will be counted on December 8, along with Himachal Pradesh.

Here are 10 things you need to know about the first phase of Gujarat assembly polls:

1. The final voter turnout will be higher as the process continued at polling stations where voters had arrived before 5 pm and were standing in queues. Also, data from some polling stations had not been received and it also did not include postal ballots, the Election Commission said.

2. Tapi district recorded the highest provisional voting turnout of 72.32 per cent. The tribal-dominated district comprises two Assembly constituencies of Vyara and Nizar. With 68.09 per cent turnout, Narmada district stood second.

3. Bhavnagar in Saurashtra region recorded the lowest turnout of 51.34 per cent as of 5 pm. Apart from Narmada, four other districts recorded over 60 per cent voting turnout: Navsari (65.91 per cent), Dang (64.84 per cent), Valsad (62.46 per cent) and Gir Somnath (60.46 per cent).

4. Polling was largely peaceful barring a few incidents of scuffles between rival groups, the EC said. Locals protested at Dhrafa village in Jamjodhpur taluka of Jamnagar district as there were no separate polling booths for men and women. They threatened to boycott voting, claiming that separate booths were always set up in the past.

5. In Junagadh, a ruckus broke out after police tried to stop a Congress leader who walked to the polling station carrying a gas cylinder on his shoulder to protest against inflation. Such protest was seen in many other places too.

6. The 788 candidates whose fates will be sealed in the first phase include AAP's chief ministerial candidate Isudan Gadhvi, who is contesting from Khambhalia seat in Devbhumi Dwarka district of Saurashtra. AAP state unit president Gopal Italia is contesting from Katargam in Surat.

7. Among other prominent candidates in the first phase are Rivaba Jadeja, the wife of cricketer Ravindra Jadeja, who is contesting from Jamnagar (North), and BJP MLAs Harsh Sanghavi and Purnesh Modi from different seats in Surat and five-time MLA Parshottam Solanki from Bhavnagar (Rural). Sitting Congress MLAs like Lalit Kagathara, Lalit Vasoya, Rutvik Makwana and Mohammad Javed Pirzada are among the candidates in fray in the first phase from seats in Saurashtra region.

8. Out of the 89 seats going to polls in the first phase, the BJP won 48 in the 2017 election, the Congress had won 40, while one seat was bagged by an independent candidate.

9. While the state has traditionally witnessed bipolar contest between the BJP and Congress, but this time, AAP's entry has turned into a three-cornered battle. While the BJP continues to bank of development plank and 'Brand Modi', the AAP has announced a slew of freebies, hoping to repeat its Punjab performance. The Congress, on the other hand, seems to be fighting to remain existent in the state politics even as it continues to reel under the infighting within its state units. The Grand Old Party hopes to capitalise on the Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra, which it believes will help in revamping the party's performance in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

10. However, the opinions polls have predicted a clear majority for the BJP, with some of them predicting that the ruling party will better its 2017 performance when it bagged 99 seats.

Source : DNA India