62 % voter turnout in Gujarat
Braving blistering heat, the people of Gujarat today came out in a large numbers to exercise their franchise as the BJP-ruled state witnessed an estimated 62 per cent voting for the general elections with the party's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's constituency Vadodara recording 70 per cent voting at the end of the polling in the evening.
Gujarat police filed an FIR against Mr Modi for displaying his party's election symbol after casting his vote in Gandhinagar.
State Home Secretary SK Nanda said the FIR has been filed by Ahmedabad Crime Branch as per the order of the Election Commission who had ordered an FIR against Mr Modi for displaying his the symbol of the BJP and addressing the media within the 100-meter radius of the polling booth in Ranip, Ahmedabad where he voted in the morning.
State Chief Election Officer Anita Karwal told reporters these were initial estimates while the final figures will be available only by tomorrow morning.
"A total of 62 per cent voting was recorded after initial estimates. This is above 14 per cent more in comparison to the 2009 Lok Sabha polls," Ms Karwal said.
She said the state witnessed a incident-free smooth single-phase polling for 26 Lok Sabha seats.
However, polling was boycotted by the people at nine places in four districts-- Gir-Somnath, Valsad, Narmada and Bhavnagar on the issues such as water.
She said Narmada district recorded the highest voting percentage of 78 per cent. The state capital Gandhinagar recorded 62 per cent voting, Ahmedabad 62, Vadodara 70, Surat 61.5 and Rajkot 58 per cent voting.
Fate of a total of 334 candidates belonging to 32 political parties have been sealed in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) after about 62 per cent of the total 4.06 crore voters cast their votes.
Call it the people's wish to make a Gujarati the next Prime Minister or successs of the Election Commission's awareness drive, polling booths across the state witnessed huge crowd of voters right from the beginning of the polling at 0700 hrs.
The election officials were expecting a record voting percentage in Vadodara, the 'Sanskarinagari' of Gujarat, as Mr Modi is contesting from there.
The Congress has fielded party national general secretary Madhusudan Mistry from the seat.
Bypolls to seven Assembly also took place simultaneously with the general elections.
Elaborate security arrangements were made to ensure free and fair polling.
After casting his vote, Mr Modi said while he was trying to find solutions to country's problems, his opponents were trying to find solutions to the 'Modi problem'.
"From day one when I was declared the BJP's PM candidate, I am trying to find solutions to the country's problems like corruption, price rise, unemployment, farmers' suicide while my opponents were trying to find solutions how to deal Modi," the Gujarat Chief Minister told mediapersons after he cast his vote in Ranip.
In a scathing attack on the Congress, Mr Modi said the ruling party at the Centre has already accepted its defeat.
"Their (the Congress) senior leaders have fled from the election. The Prime Minister and the Finance Minister are not contesting the polls," he said.
"Some Congress leaders are trying to save their party, some are trying to save their chair and some are trying to save themselves. But the BJP is trying to save the country," the BJP's PM nominee said when asked about attack by Priyanka Gandhi.
He said these elections will give new strength to the country and change its fate.
Mr Advani expressed that the on-going general elections were the most remarkable elections in the country's history.
"I am extremely happy, I have seen all the elections starting from 1952. I can say that these are the most remarkable elections in the history of the country," Mr Advani told reporters after casting his vote at Khanpur in the city.
Mr Advani said general elections this time have seen a record voting.
Leader of Opposition Shankersinh Vaghela, who is contesting from Sabarkantha, claimed that Congress will get more seats than the ruling BJP.
Talking to mediapersons soon after casting his vote in Gandhinagar, Mr Vaghela alleged that the BJP stoop to the lowest during the campaigning for the election this time and the BJP leaders failed to maintain the dignity of language in their speeches.
Congress candidate from Vadodara Madhusudan Mistry claimed that his party will definetly win the elections.
Those who cast their votes early also include Revenue Minister Anandiben Patel, Chief Election Officer Anita Karwal, Union Minister for Mines Dinsha Patel and former Chief Minister Madhavsingh Solanki.
(Posted on 01-05-2014)