Gujarat Polls: Voting on 89 seats begins


New Delhi, Dec 1 (UNI) Voting in 89 assembly constituencies spread across 19 districts in Saurashtra Kutch and southern parts of Gujarat began at 8 am on Thursday.

Nearly 2.39 crore voters are registered in the first phase of polling in the state.

The voting is scheduled to end at 5:30 pm.

A total of 788 candidates are in the fray in 89 seats going to polls in the first phase across 19 districts of the state. Out of the 788 candidates, 70 are women and 339 candidates are independents.

Out of 2.39 crore voters eligible to vote in the first phase, 1.24 crore are male and 1.15 crore are female voters. The number of third gender voters is 497.

The state, that traditionally has remained a battlefield between BJP and Congress, has witnessed the entry of a third party- the Arvind Kejriwal led Aam Aadmi Party for the first time making the elections a triangular contest.

The second phase of Gujarat polls is scheduled on December 5. The election results will be announced on December 8 along with Himachal Pradesh's.

In a video message to voters of Gujarat, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar asked them to "set a new record of voting by participating more and more in the festival of democracy."

Looking forward to a record 7th successive term in the state, Prime Minister Narendra Modi too has urged Gujarat voters to exercise their franchise in record numbers.

Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party supremo Arvind Kejriwal has also asked voters to vote for a better future of Gujarat and their children.

In a tweet, he said, "In Gujarat, 89 seats are going to polls in the first phase today. My appeal to all the voters of all the assembly constituencies in Gujarat where voting is taking place today - You have got a golden opportunity, come to vote for the better future of Gujarat and your children, this time do something big."