Gandhinagar: The polling in the first phase of Gujarat assembly election has begun, as a few voters were seen entering election booths in 89 assembly constituencies where voting is taking place on Saturday.
The polling began at 8 am and will continue till 5 in the evening.
In 2012, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 63 of the 89 constituencies while the Congress got only 22 seats. Others won four seats.
The first phase of polling is being held in 89 assembly constituencies of Saurashtra and South Gujarat with 977 candidates in the fray.
Voting underway on Surat’s Kamrej assembly seat. BJP’s Zalavadiya Vinubhai Dahyabhai is up against Congress’s Ashok Jirawala
Meanwhile, the security has been beefed up in the state to ward off any untoward incidents and maintain law and order.
Security personnel have been deployed to maintain peaceful atmosphere for the smooth conduct of elections.
CCTV cameras have also been installed for effective monitoring and surveillance.
The high voltage campaign for the first phase ended on Thursday evening.
Prominent candidates in the fray for Saturday’s battle include Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, who is contesting from Rajkot (West), and Congress’ Shaktisinh Gohil and Paresh Dhanani.
BJP has pitted Virendrasingh Jadeja against Gohil, who is trying his luck from Mandavi.
The Congress has asserted party’s victory in the Gujarat assembly elections ahead of the first phase while saying that the BJP will be wiped out from the state.
Speaking to ANI, Congress leader Raju Waghmare said, “We are confident that in Gujarat Congress will come with a majority. Congress will form government in Gujarat after 22 years. The BJP will be totally wiped out from the state. Everybody in Gujarat wants change and Congress is that change.”
The second phase will be held on December 14 for 93 assembly constituencies while counting of the votes will be done on December 18.
The crucial elections are being seen as prestige battle for BJP, which has been ruling the state for last 22 years, and litmus test for the Congress.