Ahmedabad: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Monday exercised his franchise at a school here during the second phase of the state assembly elections, which saw about 6.7 per cent polling across 95 constituencies in the first hour.
"In the very first hour, nearly 6.7 per cent voting was recorded in the state," a state Election Commission official said.
Modi, who is seeking re-election for the third time, exercised his franchise at Nishan High School in Ranip locality amidst much fanfare, flashing a victory sign. Soon after casting his vote, he told reporters, "It's a very peaceful election. It is such a election that has been contested by people of Gujarat themselves...an election where youth and women folk have taken up the responsibility on their shoulders..It will be historic one because it has been contested on the issue of good governance and development plank."
The BJP strongman, who is contesting from Maninagar assembly constituency, is locked in a direct contest with Congress candidate Shweta, wife of suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt.
Serpentine queues were witnessed since morning at 23,318 polling stations, with women coming out in large numbers.
The constituencies where polling started include 17 in Ahmedabad city, 40 constituencies in five districts-Vadodara, Dahod, Panchmahal, Kheda and Anand-of Central Gujarat, on 32 seats in five districts -Patan, Mehsana, Sabarkantha, Gandhinagar and Banaskantha-of North Gujarat, and on six seats in Kutch District.
Voting is underway on 23,318 polling stations amidst elaborate and robust security arrangements. In Ahmedabad 1,700 polling booths have been marked as critical by the Election Commission.
Around 1.98 crore voters will seal the fate of 820 candidates, contesting in this phase. Out of total 1,98,99,501 voters, there are 1,03,58,265 males, 95,41,157 females and 79 other voters who are likely to exercise their franchise.
Out of a total of 820 in this phase, 49 women candidates in the fray. BJP has fielded candidates on all 95 seats going to poll in this phase, whereas Congress is contesting on 92 and Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) and Bahujan Samaaj Party (BSP) on 84 seats each, besides 284 independents in fray.