Guj: Over 19% voter turnout till noon in Morva Hadaf assembly bypoll

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Ahmedabad, Apr 17 (PTI) A voter turnout of 19.40 per cent was registered till 12 pm on Saturday in the bypoll to Morva Hadaf (ST) assembly seat of Gujarat's Panchmahal district, officials said.

Of the 2.19 lakh registered voters, 19.40 per cent voters exercised their franchise between 7 am and 12 pm. Voting would continue till 6 pm, a release by the office of Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) for Gujarat said.

Voting is currently underway at 329 polling booths in the constituency.

To maintain social distancing in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, the number of voters per booth has been capped at 1,000.

The bypoll to Morva Hadaf, an assembly seat reserved for the Scheduled Tribe candidates, was necessitated after Independent MLA Bhupendrasinh Khant was disqualified in May, 2019 for submitting an invalid caste certificate. He lost an appeal in the Gujarat High Court on the issue. Khant died due to health issues in January this year.

A total of three candidates are in the fray. The ruling BJP has fielded former MLA Nimisha Suthar, who represented this seat from 2013 to 2017, as its candidate. Suthar is fighting the election against the Congress' Suresh Katara.

Both the rivals exercised their franchise in the morning at their respective booths.

Another candidate, Sushilaben Maida, is contesting as an independent.

Counting of votes would begin from 8 am on May 2. PTI PJT NP NP