Guj: Voting for bypolls to eight Assembly seats ends, 57 pc turnout by 5 pm

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(Eds: Updating after end of polling) Ahmedabad, Nov 3 (PTI) Voting for bypolls to eight Assembly constituencies in Gujarat ended on Tuesday evening.

The polling was held between 7 am and 6 pm for bypolls to Abdasa (Kutch district), Limbdi (Surendranagar), Morbi (Morbi district), Dhari (Amreli), Gadhada (Botad), Karjan (Vadodara), Dang (Dang district) and Kaprada (Valsad).

As per the tentative figures shared by the authorities, 57.29 per cent voters had exercised franchise till 5 pm.

Counting will take place on November 10.

A total of 81 candidates were in the fray for eight seats which collectively had 18.75 lakh registered voters.

To maintain social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic, election authorities had set up 3,024 polling booths, much more than usual.

Disposable hand gloves were given to voters at polling booths.

The byelections were necessitated after the sitting Congress MLAs resigned ahead of Rajya Sabha polls in June.

Five of them joined the ruling BJP and the party fielded them from the same seats.

These five candidates are Brijesh Merja (Morbi), Akshay Patel (Karjan), Jitu Chaudhary (Kaprada), Pradyumansinh Jadeja (Abdasa) and J V Kakadiya (Dhari).

The other three BJP candidates in the fray were Atmaram Parmar (Gadhada), Vijay Patel (Dang) and Kiritsinh Rana (Limbdi).

The Congress fielded Jayantilal Patel (Morbi), Kiritsinh Jadeja (Karjan), Babubhai Vartha (Kaprada), Shantilal Sendhani (Abdasa), Suresh Kotadiya (Dhari), Mohan Solanki (Gadhada), Suryakant Gavit (Dang) and Chetan Khachar (Limbdi).

While no untoward incident took place anywhere, two men were arrested with Rs 57,000 in cash in Karjan area hours before polling began. The police claimed that the money was supplied by a Congress worker to influence voters.

Chief Electoral Officer of Gujarat S Murali Krishna ordered inquiry into two viral videos which purportedly suggested that BJP workers were distributing money in Karjan.

The CEO also asked the Morbi district election officer to probe a claim that BJP pamphlets were distributed near a polling booth.

A probe was also ordered into allegation of bogus voting at Gedi village under Limbdi constituency. PTI PJT PD KRK KRK