First phase polling in Gujarat historic, says EC

New Delhi, Dec 13: The Election Commission of India Thursday lauded the 68 percent voter turnout in the first phase of polling in Gujarat, calling it “historic”.

“The polling was totally peaceful and historic,” Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi told reporters here.

An estimated 68 percent of the 18-million people eligible to vote in the first phase cast their ballots between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. in 87 of the 182 assembly constituencies in the state.

It was the highest voting percentage since 2002 when 61.54 percent of the electorate had voted. This percentage slid to 59.77 in 2007.

Zutshi attributed greater confidence-building and more enrolment of people for the high voter turnout.

Though voting was peaceful, Zutshi said that in at least two districts — Junagadh and Surendranagar — there were instances of poll boycott.

He also said that the commission had seized Rs.2.18 crore of undeclared money from candidates.

There were also 150 cases of paid news, of which 89 had been served notices, he said.

There would also be repolling at some places due to a technical error, he said.

“The figures from the mock polls conducted on some EVMs (electronic voting machines) were not erased,” said Zutshi.

IANS