Elections to six municipal corporations in Gujarat were conducted in a peaceful manner amid tight security and adherence to COVID-19 norms on Sunday, in which average voter turnout of around 42 per cent was recorded, officials said.
Polling for a total of 144 wards across six civic bodies- Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Vadodara, Bhavnagar and Jamnagar- was held.
The voting process began at 7 am and went on till 6 pm, with the turnout remaining low right from the morning.
Ahmedabad recorded the lowest turnout of 38.73 per cent, while Jamnagar recorded the highest turnout of 49.86 per cent.
Rajkot recorded a turnout of 47.27 per cent, Bhavnagar 43.66 per cent, Surat 43.52 per cent and Vadodara 43.47 per cent, as per the provisional figures updated on the website of the State Election Commission after voting concluded.
A voter turnout of 42.21 per cent was recorded across the polls to these six bodies, it said.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah cast his vote along with his family members at a polling booth in Naranpura ward of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation.
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani voted in Rajkot, where he was flown from Ahmedabad hours after testing negative for coronavirus.
In a video message after the conclusion of the election, State Election Commissioner Sanjay Prasad said that voting was largely peaceful.
“Voting concluded peacefully. There was no news of any major untoward incident, and people voted in a peaceful manner. For this, I express my thanks to the voters, political parties, and administrative and police staff involved in election duty,” he said.
Mr Prasad appealed to the voters to exercise their franchise in large numbers for the upcoming local body polls on February 28 and participate in the electoral process for the formation of the new local bodies.
Except for a few instances of members of different political parties clashing in Ahmedabad and Surat, the process went on largely in a peaceful manner.
Glitch in an EVM machine was reported at a polling booth in Ahmedabad.
In theses polls, the main contest was between the BJP, which has ruled the six corporations for the last several terms, and the main opposition Congress.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had earlier claimed that it would be an effective alternative to the BJP and Congress, while Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) is making its debut in the local bodies polls in the state as it fielded 21 candidates in six wards of Ahmedabad.
Around 32,000 policemen were deployed for security during the process of voting in 575 seats, with each ward having four corporators, officials said.
A total of 2,276 candidates were in the fray in these six civic bodies. Besides, nine candidates contested the by-elections to two seats in Junagadh Municipal Corporation.
The partywise candidates were as follows: 577 from the BJP, 566 from the Congress, 470 from the AAP, 91 from the NCP, 353 from other parties and 228 Independents, they said.
Votes will be counted on February 23.
On February 28, elections to 31 districts and 231 taluka panchayats and 81 municipalities will also be held in the state.