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Estimated 60 pc turn out in Gujarat 1st phase
December 11, 2007 09:01 IST
Last Updated: December 11, 2007 20:05 IST
An estimated 59 to 60 per cent of nearly 1.78 crore voters on Tuesday exercised their franchise in the crucial first phase of Gujarat assembly elections covering 87 constituencies in South Gujarat, Kutch and Saurashtra, where rebellion in the state's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party against Chief Minister Narendra Modi [Images] was the strongest.
"The polling was peaceful and orderly and no major incident was reported," Deputy Election Commissioner Jaiprakash told media persons in New Delhi.
Voting picked up gradually after a slow start in the morning.
The first phase, being considered a decisive factor for BJP seeking to retain power, will decide the fate of 669 candidates including Finance Minister Vajubhai Vala, Urban Development Minister I K Jadeja and leader of the Opposition, Arjun Modhvadiya and an array of BJP rebels who are up in arms against Modi.
Prominent among BJP rebels, who are testing their electoral fortunes are Dhirubhai Gajera, Balubhai Tanti, Bechar Bhadani and Bavku Undhad. Some of them are contesting on Congress tickets.
As many as 3,700 poll observers were posted inside polling stations in key areas and the polling process was recorded by 5,400 digital and video cameras, he said.
While cases have been registered against ten candidates for canvassing within 200 metres of polling stations, one person was arrested for carrying the EPIC cards of 16 voters who were being interrogated, the EC official said.
Two presiding officers have been replaced for not adhering to instructions of the Commission, he said