Gujarat: Over 53% turnout in bypolls to 6 assembly constituencies

Women wait to vote in Amraiwadi assembly constituency, Ahmedabad, on Monday. (Express Photo by Javed Raja)

The two crucial assembly seats — Radhanpur and Bayad — that went to bypolls in Gujarat Monday along with four other seats registered a polling percentage of over 61 per cent, much above the state average of 53.68 per cent.

The bypolls were held for Tharad in Banaskantha district, Radhanpur in Patan, Kheralu in Mehsana, Bayad in Arvalli, Amraiwadi in Ahmedabad and Lunawada in Mahisagar district.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had fielded turncoats Alpesh Thakor and Dhavalsinh Zala from Radhanpur and Bayad respectively. The duo joined the BJP after the Rajya Sabha polls in the state earlier this year. In Radhanpur, where the fight was between Alpesh Thakor and Congress rival Raghunath Desai, the polling percentage stood at 62.95 according to the Election Commission figures released at 8 pm. During the 2017 assembly elections, the voting percentage on this seat was 68.64 per cent.

At Bayad, where Zala was pitted against Congress rival Shivabhai Patel, the polling percentage was 61.01, much lower to the 70.88 per cent clocked during the assembly polls in 2017.

The polling percentage for both these seats of Radhanpur and Bayad were higher than the state average of 53.68 per cent. The highest turnout of 68.95 per cent was, however, registered in Tharad in Banaskantha, North Gujarat, while the lowest of 34.75 per cent was registered on the assembly constituency of Amraiwadi in Ahmedabad city.

With over 2.79 lakh voters, Amraiwadi has the highest number of voters among the six assembly seats that went to the polls in the state on Monday. Polls to the Amraiwadi seat was necessitated after sitting BJP MLA Hasmukh Patel got elected to the Lok Sabha from Ahmedabad East constituency earlier this year. While the ruling BJP has pitched Jagdish Patel, a businessman and director of Ahmedabad-based Pushpak Trademech Limited, from the seat, the Congress has fielded real-estate developer Dharmendra Patel.

The turnout on Kheralu stood at 46.15 per cent and that on Lunawada was 51.23 per cent.

At Nani Hirvani village in Kheralu, police found a man hanging from the fence of the compound wall of a primary school, which was used as a polling booth. The deceased was identified as 20-year-old labourer, Vasant Chauhan. A case of suicide has been registered by Kheralu police, officials said, adding that the incident didn’t impact voting process.

EVMs, VVPATs replaced

“The elections were peaceful in the state,” said Dr Murali Krishna, Chief Electoral Officer, Gujarat. On the polling day, some EVMs and VVPATs were also replaced during mock polls. While 22 VVPATs were replaced during the mock polls, an additional 38 VVPATs were replaced while polls were under way.

As far as EVMs are concerned, a total of 5 Ballot Units and 14 Control units were replaced during the mock poll, while an additional 9 Ballot Units and an equal number of Control Units were replaced, sources added.

Counting of votes will be taken up on October 24.

(With PTI)