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30% ballotting as voting picks up in Gujarat second phase

Voting picked up in Gujarat’s second phase elections as the sun warmed away the winter chill, with around 30 per cent polling registered by afternoon.

Voting is being held in 93 assembly constituencies across 14 districts in northern and central regions of the state. There are 851 candidates in the fray.

As the temperature rose, the voters, who were chary of coming out of their homes to vote due to the morning chill, were seen queuing up outside polling booths in the state by afternoon.

According to sources in the Chief Electoral Office (CEO), Gujarat office, around 28 per cent ballotting was recorded till 1 p.m.

Elections are being held in Banaskantha, Patan, Sabarkantha, Mehsana, Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, Aravalli, Mahisagar, Panchmahal, Dahod, Kheda, Anand, Vadodara and Chhota Udepur districts from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. A total of 25,575 polling booths have been set up in 14,523 places.

Meanwhile, the Congress party has complained the Election Commission of India (ECI) about a road show held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi after he cast his vote in Ranip area of Ahmedabad.

Modi, registered as a voter in Ranip area of Ahmedabad, exercised his right at the polling booth at Nishan Vidyalaya in Ranip region of the city. Afer casting his vote, he stood on the steps of his vehicle and carried out a road show for quite a distance, waving to the crowd and the gathering.

There were also several complaints made to the Election Commission about malfunctioning of Electronic Voting Machines in and around Vadodara city. At many places, the polling was halted due to such malfunctioning.

There were reports of a skirmish in Dhanera town in the Banaskantha, where a poll official was attacked by a group, police said.

Many bigwigs, including union Finance Minister Arun Jaitely, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, state Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki and Patidar leader Hardik Patel have cast their vote.

Jaitley cast his vote in Ahmedabad; Nitin Patel cast his vote from the Kadi region; Solanki went to his native Mendarda village in Borsad to cast his vote and Hardik Patel cast his vote in Viramgam.

At many places in urban areas, people themselves were seen creating awareness and urging members of housing societies to come out and vote.