48.48 pc voting till 3 pm in first phase of Gujarat Assembly elections
Reserve machine sets are available in all districts with the zonal officer in-charge of that area.
An average voter turnout of 48.48 per cent was recorded till 3 pm on Thursday as voting was underway for the first phase of the Gujarat Assembly elections in 89 seats across 19 districts of Saurashtra-Kutch and southern regions of the state, the Election Commission said.
The tribal-dominated Tapi and Narmada districts in south Gujarat registered more than 60 per cent polling, as per the EC.
Barring a few minor incidents and some reports of problems in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), the voting process, which commenced at 8 am, remained largely peaceful so far.
A scuffle broke out between two groups of people belonging to different political parties at Palitana in Bhavnagar during voting.
At Jamjodhpur in Jamnagar district, women voters registered a protest after finding that there was no separate booth for them at the polling station.
In Junagadh, a ruckus broke out after police tried to stop a Congress functionary when he was walking towards the polling station carrying a cooking gas cylinder on his shoulder.
The EC tweeted the picture of a 104-year old voter, Ramjibhai, and said he participated in the festival of democracy by voting at the polling station instead of opting for a postal ballot.
It also tweeted a picture of a centenarian voter, Kamuben Patel, proudly showing her inked finger after casting her vote at a polling station in Umbergaon Assembly constituency in Valsad district.
While voting was underway in parts of the state, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed rallied at Kalol in Panchmahal district and Sankheda in Chhota Udepur, where polling will be held in the second phase on December 5.
Out of the 19 districts where the elections were being held in 89 seats out of the total 182 in the state, two districts recorded more than 60 per cent voting in seven hours since the voting began at 8 am. Six districts recorded more than 50 per cent voting, the EC said in its latest update.
Tapi recorded the highest voter turnout at 63.98 per cent, followed by 63.95 per cent in Narmada, both tribal-dominated districts of south Gujarat region.
Dang, another tribal-dominated district in south Gujarat, recorded 58.55 per cent voting during the period.
Navsari and Valsad in south Gujarat, and Gir Somnath and Bhavnagar in Saurashtra also recorded more than 50 per cent voting.
Jamnagar saw the slowest voter turnout at 42.44 per cent, the EC said.
At least 33 ballot units, 29 control units and 69 VVPATs (voter verifiable paper audit trails) were replaced in the first three hours of polling at different stations due to malfunctioning, the office of the state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) said.
As many as 26,269 ballot units, 25,430 control units and 25,430 VVPATs are being used in polling stations across the 19 districts.
''Around 0.1 per cent ballot units, 0.1 per cent control units and 0.3 per cent VVPATs have been replaced in three hours of voting. Reserve machine sets are available in all districts with the zonal officer in-charge of that area. Wherever a small or big problem occurs, arrangements have been made to replace them in no time,'' the state CEO's office said in a release.
Among the prominent leaders who cast their vote included senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former chief minister Vijay Rupani, state BJP chief CR Paatil, Rajya Sabha member Parimal Nathwani, BJP candidate from Jamnagar (North) Rivaba Jadeja, former Congress leader of opposition Paresh Dhanani and state Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) president Gopal Italia.
While Rivaba Jadeja voted at a polling booth in Rajkot, her husband and cricketer Ravindra Jadeja voted in Jamnagar.
The fate of 788 candidates will be decided through the voting in the first phase.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)