Gujarat election : Thirty-seven percent polling till 2 pm, EVM malfunctioning forces extension of polling in some places
Surat, Dec 9 (IBNS) : About 37 per cent of the electorate exercised their franchise till 2 pm on Saturday as polling in 89 constituencies are underway in the first phase of Gujarat election amid a heightened political tussle involving the ruling BJP and the Congress.
However electronic voting machines went wrong to play the spoilsport in a number of places. Media reports suggest that the deadline of voting in various constituencies was extended till 10 pm due to EMVs malfunctioning.
A total of 977 candidates are in the fray and around 2.12 crore voters are expected to exercise their franchise.
The ruling BJP, making a bid for a fifth term, and the Congress, attempting an electoral revival, are the main contenders.
The second phase for the remaining 93 seats of the high-stakes election will be held on December 14. Gujarat has 182 assembly constituencies. The counting of votes will take place on December 18.
Taking the Gujarat poll campaign to a new low, Congress politician and writer Salman Nizami raised question on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's family background only to be countered by PM himself on Saturday..
Seeking to redeem another political point after the windfall score he gained following Manishankar Aiyer's 'Neech' comment, Modi shared a screenshot of Nizami's tweet on the micro-blogging site where the latter compared Gandhi's family legacy with Modi's background.
Hitting out at Nizami, the Prime Minister tweeted: "I want to tell all Congress leaders who are abusing me, mocking my poor family, asking who my parents are- this nation is my everything. Every moment of my time is devoted to India and 125 crore Indians."
The state election is being viewed as an acid test for both Narendra Modi and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi.
While the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is fighting hard to retain their stronghold in the state, the Congress is trying to return to power after 22 years.
The Congress is fighting the election in an alliance with Hardik Patel-led Patidar Ananmat Andolan Samiti (PAAS).
Like the Prime Minister, Rahul too urged all Gujarat voters to turn out in large numbers along with a special reference to the young generation.