AHMEDABAD: Over 60 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the elections to Gujarat’s 81 municipalities, 31 district panchayats and 231 taluka panchayats that were held in a largely peaceful manner on Sunday, barring an incident of booth capturing and reports of clash as well as snags in EVMs at some places, officials said.
As per the provisional figures, voter turnout of 54.95 per cent across 81 municipalities, 62.41 per cent in 31 district panchayats, and 63.42 per cent in 231 taluka panchayat, was recorded, the State Election Commission (SEC) said.
The average voting percentage across all these local bodies together was around 60.26 per cent, it said.
There was an attempt to capture a booth at Ghodiya villagein Jhalod taluka of Dahod district after three persons forced their way inside and damaged two EVMs kept there. Polling was stopped after the incident that took place around 2pm, police said.

The election staff collected the damaged EVMs and said they would try to retrieve the stored data, and a decision on whether to conduct re-election will be taken by the Election Commission.
Police said that one of the three persons was held while two others managed to escape, and attempts were on to nab them.
In another incident, some persons were injured after two groups supporting rival candidates clashed and hurled stones at each other near a polling booth in Viramgam taluka of Ahmedabad district.
Police said they brought the situation under control and rounded up a few people in this connection.
Further investigation is under way, an official said, adding that polling was not affected due to the incident.
A minor clash also broke out near a booth in Vyara municipality of Tapi district in south Gujarat, with groups representing a BJP and an independent candidate coming face to face. However, the situation was soon brought under control, police said.
Clashes were also reported between members of two political parties at Singvad and Jhalod talukas of Dahod district.
There were also a few instances of villagers boycotting voting.
In some villages in the tribal-dominated districts of Panchmahal and Chhota Udepur, people decided to stay away from the electoral process to mark their protest against “lack of development” in their region.
A technical snag was reported in an EVM at a polling booth in Bhavnagar.
Voting began at 7am and ended at 6pm.
Several ministers in the BJP government, including deputy chief minister Nitin Patel and members of parliament (MPs) voted across different booths in Gujarat.
Patel cast his vote at his native Kadi municipality of Mehsana district along with his family members.
Union minister of state for panchayati raj and agriculture Parshottam Rupala and BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Jugalji Thakor were among the leaders who cast their votes in the early hours.
Congress leader Hardik Patel also voted at a booth at Viramgam in Ahmedabad district.
As per the SEC, there are a total of 8,474 seats across 81 municipalities, 31 district panchayats and 231 taluka panchayats in Gujarat, out of which candidates on 237 seats remain unopposed, and no form was filled for two seats in taluka panchayat.
Thus, elections were held on a total 8,235 seats, it said.
For 8,235 seats, the BJP had fielded 8,161 candidates, Congress 7,778, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) 2,090, among others, said the SEC.
Apart from the traditional rivals- BJP and Congress-, AAP and Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM were also in the fray for local body polls in Gujarat this time.
By-elections were also held for two seats in taluka panchayats and 24 seats in municipalities.
Votes for the polls will be counted on March 2.
In the February 21 elections, the BJP won with a majority across all the six municipal corporations.
There are a total 3.04 crore registered voters in the second phase election.
Over 44,000 policemen, including state reserve police and 12 companies of CAPF, along with 54,000 homeguards have been deployed to ensure incident-free voting.

Source link Times of India


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