Gujarat sees 62.4% voter turnout in Lok Sabha elections | Mint
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Business News/ Politics / Policy/  Gujarat sees 62.4% voter turnout in Lok Sabha elections
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Gujarat sees 62.4% voter turnout in Lok Sabha elections

Narendra Modi, after casting his vote in Gandhinagar constituency, told reporters this was the end of India's 'mother-son government'

Gujarat is considered home turf of the BJP, courtesy its CM Narendra Modi, and the party is looking to make a clean sweep in the state in the Lok Sabha elections. Photo: PTIPremium
Gujarat is considered home turf of the BJP, courtesy its CM Narendra Modi, and the party is looking to make a clean sweep in the state in the Lok Sabha elections. Photo: PTI

Ahmedabad: Voters braved a blazing sun to come out in large numbers in Gujarat for the seventh phase of Lok Sabha elections on Wednesday. Polling for all the 26 seats in the state is taking place in a single phase. The voter turnout in Gujarat is 62.4%, the election commission announced at a press conference in Delhi.

In the last five Lok Sabha elections, the average voter turnout has been less than 50%, except in 1998 when the voter turnout was 59.3%.

The turnout was higher this time aided by a voter awareness drive carried out by the Election Commission and with chief minister Narendra Modi being selected the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) prime ministerial candidate, political experts said.

The highest voter turnout in the state was in 1967 of about 64%.

Gujarat is considered to be a bastion for the BJP and the party is looking to make a clean sweep in the state this time around. Modi, who is contesting from Vadodara, besides Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, is pitted against Congress general secretary Madhusudhan Mistry. Most of the offices and establishments across the state remained closed for the day.

Modi, after casting his vote in Gandhinagar constituency, told reporters this was the end of India’s “mother-son government". Two FIRs were filed against Modi on the the orders of the Election Commission of India (EC) for violating poll laws by displaying the BJP’s election symbol “Lotus" and making a speech after casting his vote in Gandhinagar.

While BJP is looking to get a clean sweep with Modi leading from the front, Congress is pinning its hopes on local candidates and local leaders. Modi has addressed over a dozen rallies in the state in contrast to Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s two rallies and vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s four.

The Congress, headed by Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi, is widely expected to lose to Modi-led BJP.

Also in the fray in Gujarat is BJP patriarch L.K. Advani, who is contesting from Gandhinagar constituency. He has been winning from this constituency continuously since 1991 (he did not contest in 1996), and is pitted against Congress leader Kirtibhai Patel. After casting his vote, Advani praised the Election Commission for successfully conducting the world’s largest democratic exercise.

“This is the most remarkable election held in the history of the country," Advani said. Bollywood actor Paresh Rawal is contesting from Ahmedabad East.

So far, elections in Gujarat have been a two-way contest between the BJP and Congress and though parties like the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) have been fielding candidates they are yet to win a seat. The recently formed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), whose chief Arvind Kejriwal is contesting against Modi in Varanasi, has fielded candidates for all 26 seats.

In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won 15 seats and the Congress 11. The BJP increased its tally in by-elections—in the outgoing Lok Sabha, the BJP has 17 seats while the Congress has nine.

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Published: 30 Apr 2014, 09:24 AM IST
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