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Gujarat polls 1st phase as it happened: Amit Shah says record turnout symbolises voters' belief in Narendra Modi

Gujarat is all set for Saturday's first phase of Assembly elections in which 977 candidates will battle it out to get elected from 89 of the 182 constituencies, with the ruling BJP facing a strong Congress challenge.

FP Staff December 09, 2017 20:57:10 IST
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Gujarat polls 1st phase as it happened: Amit Shah says record turnout symbolises voters' belief in Narendra Modi

Highlights

20:53 (ist)

Never heard of Salman Nizami, says Congress

The Congress on Saturday said that Salman Nizami, who Prime Minister Narendra Modi cited to attack it, does not hold any position in the party, while hitting out at the prime minister for moving away from "real issues".

Congress leader Rajeev Shukla told reporters that Salman Nizami doesn't hold any position in the party.

"We have not even heard the name Salman Nizami. He holds no post in the party, we don't know who he is. Maybe they (BJP) got a name from somewhere. If we start speaking like this, we can name anyone and call the person a BJP worker," he said.

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16:26 (ist)

Congress complains of EVM 'tampering' via Bluetooth in Porbandar booths

Senior Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia on Saturday complained of possible EVM tampering at three polling booths in a Muslim-dominated area of Porbandar claiming that some machines were found to be connecting to external devices via Bluetooth.

The Election Commission said that based on the Congress leader's complaint, an inquiry had been initiated.


"We detected that the EVMs at three polling booths at Memanwada, a Muslim-dominated area, are connected to external devices through Bluetooth. When the Bluetooth of a mobile phone is turned on, a device named 'ECO 105' is shown as available," Modhwadia, the Congress candidate from Porbandar, said.

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13:53 (ist)

Who is Salman Nizami?

According to News18, Nizami was reportedly the joint secretary of the Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee in 2014. He has a history of making controversial remarks.

A defamation notice had been issued against him earlier in 2017 for lashing out at Yogi Adityanath. On 19 March, Nizam had allegedly tweeted: "Zakir Naik is being hounded despite no evidence against him. Yogi Aditynath has cases of murder, riots registered against him."

22:07 (ist)

Mock polls to be conducted at every polling station before actual polling: EC

Amid a host of measures to ensure integrity of EVMs, the Election Commission said that the presiding officers will conduct mock polls at all polling stations with at least 50 votes to ensure that the EVMs are functioning properly. The mock poll exercise will be conducted at least one hour before the actual polling starts. 

21:51 (ist)

Dhoraji seat a prestige issue for Hardik Patel 

The contest on Dhoraji seat of Gujarat will be a prestige issue for Hardik Patel as one of his key aides, Lalit Vasoya, is contesting from there on Congress' ticket. Vasoya will be taking on veteran BJP leader and former Lok Sabha MP Harilal Patel on this Patel community-dominated Assembly constituency in Rajkot district.

Dhoraji is the only Assembly constituency on which Congress has fielded a leader from Hardik Patel-led PAAS. 

21:04 (ist)

Congress promises constitutionally impossible, financially improbable: Jaitley

The BJP on Friday said the Congress poll manifesto in Gujarat promising quota for Patidars and farm debt waiver was "constitutionally impossible" and "financially improbable" and that the party's policy of social polarisation would harm the state.

"One of Congress' poll promises is constitutionally impossible, which is reservation. It cannot go beyond 50 per cent. The Congress vision is based on constitutional impossibility."

The Congress in its manifesto has promised that if it forms the government in the state, it will bring in a special bill to provide quotas for those who are not presently entitled to any reservation and Patidars will get quota under special category. The quota given to OBCs, STs and SCs will not be touched. 

18:51 (ist)

BJP launched manifesto just a day before polling; Rahul Gandhi slams party's 'arrogance'

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, BJP Gujarat president Jitu Vaghani and BJP leader Bhupendra Yadav released the BJP's manifesto for the Gujarat Assembly elections in Ahmedabad on Friday. The Bharatiya Janata Party, while releasing its sankalp patra (vision document), said that the document will focus on the party's development plank for Gujarat. ​

Rahul Gandhi however, slammed the move. "We raised questions about Manifesto & BJP hastily prepared it behind closed doors. Congress asked for it so Arun Jaitley released it. Otherwise why do they need it when they think they're going to govern here for 100 years? Such is their arrogance," he said. 

LIVE NEWS and UPDATES

Dec 09, 2017 - 21:05 (IST)

Narendra Modi faces test in home state as Gujarat votes

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state of Gujarat went to the polls on Saturday, in a key electoral test of his popularity after a series of controversial economic reforms.

Voters, with their election cards in hand, started lining up at polling booths early in the morning in Gujarat where Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has held power for 22 years.

Modi built his reputation as an economic reformer in Gujarat which boomed under his rule, attracting investments from around the globe. But his recent reformsa new national tax and a shock currency ban to fight grafthave hit India's growth and hurt the very constituency of traders and small business owners who were his biggest supporters in the western state, polls found.

Experts say this election is a serious challenge to Modi as his rivals ride a wave of discontent over the stuttering economy, adding that voter anger over the reforms and a desire for change could boost the flagging fortunes of the Opposition Congress.

AFP

Dec 09, 2017 - 20:53 (IST)

Never heard of Salman Nizami, says Congress

The Congress on Saturday said that Salman Nizami, who Prime Minister Narendra Modi cited to attack it, does not hold any position in the party, while hitting out at the prime minister for moving away from "real issues".

Congress leader Rajeev Shukla told reporters that Salman Nizami doesn't hold any position in the party.

"We have not even heard the name Salman Nizami. He holds no post in the party, we don't know who he is. Maybe they (BJP) got a name from somewhere. If we start speaking like this, we can name anyone and call the person a BJP worker," he said.

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Dec 09, 2017 - 20:24 (IST)

AAP hits outs at BJP after voters from Gajadi village boycott election

Dec 09, 2017 - 19:59 (IST)

Dec 09, 2017 - 19:52 (IST)
To protest water woes, village in Gujarat boycotts election
 
Zero voting was recorded at Gajadi village in Morbi district of Gujarat on Saturday as the locals, fed up with water shortage, boycotted polling.
 
While long lines were seen outside polling booths in Saurashtra and South Gujarat in the first phase of Assembly polls, none among the 1,000 registered voters in Gajadi turned up to cast vote, officials said. The village, though situated in Tankara tehsil of Morbi, comes under Kalavad constituency of Jamnagar district.
 
The district administration said they tried their best to persuade villagers to vote. "Villagers had announced a few months ago that they will refrain from voting. Their main grievance was about water supply. Though the village is being supplied water through a pipeline, they claimed it was not enough and demanded another pipeline," said Morbi Collector and District Election Officer IK Patel.
 
PTI
 

Dec 09, 2017 - 19:35 (IST)

In Mehsana's Vijapur, Rahul Gandhi promises free medical facilities if Congress comes to power

Dec 09, 2017 - 19:30 (IST)

Amit Shah lauds people of Gujarat over 'record turnout'

On Twitter, BJP chief Amit Shah wrote: "In the first phase of election, the people of Gujarat, who have participated in this great episode of democracy, are venerable. This record voting symbolises the belief in Modi's Gujarat model in the mind of every person in Gujarat. The BJP is heading towards historic conquest in Gujarat."

Dec 09, 2017 - 19:05 (IST)

Election Commission says EVMs can't be tampered with via Bluetooth 

Dec 09, 2017 - 19:02 (IST)

Average voter turnout in 19 districts till 4 pm

Dec 09, 2017 - 18:53 (IST)

Election Commission says 68% voter turnout recorded

At the media briefing, the Election Commission said that 68 percent voter turnout has been recorded during the first phase and it is expected to exceed 70 percent. "Exact voting percentage will be known soon," the Election Commission said.

Gujarat is all set for Saturday's first phase of Assembly elections in which 977 candidates will battle it out to get elected from 89 of the 182 constituencies, with the ruling BJP facing a strong Congress challenge.

The 89 constituencies are spread out in the 19 districts of Kutch, Saurashtra and southern regions. High-pitched campaigning, involving among others Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ended on Thursday evening.

Gujarat polls 1st phase as it happened Amit Shah says record turnout symbolises voters belief in Narendra Modi

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi (left) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

A total of 977 candidates are in the fray from Kutch, Morbi, Jamnagar, Surendranagar, Devbhoomi Dwarka, Rajkot, Botad, Porbandar, Junagadh, Amreli, Gir Somnath, Bhavnagar, Bharuch, Narmada, Surat, Tapi, Navsari, Dang and Valsad districts.

Of the 89 seats, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party holds 67 and the Congress 16. One seat each is held by the NCP and JD-U while independents hold the remaining two.

The most striking battle on Saturday will be in Rajkot West, presently held by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. He is being challenged by Congress candidate Indraneel Rajyaguru, the outgoing MLA from Rajkot East.

Another outgoing Congress MLA, Paresh Dhanani, from Amreli is challenged by a former Congress leader and now BJP MLA — in Lathi constituency.

The Saurashtra region will see some more high profile battles involving cabinet minister Babubhai Bokhiria, Arjun Modhwadia of Congress and former finance and power minister Saurabh Patel.

The Congress has tried to woo the voters with a manifesto. The BJP released a 'Sankalp Patra' or 'Resolution Letter' on Friday.

The polling on Saturday will begin at 8 am and end at 5 pm. There are a total of 24,689 polling booths. Of the 2,12,31,652 voters, 1,11,05,933 are males and 1,01,25,472 females while 247 are from the third gender.

There are eight seats with more than 16 candidates. The maximum of 27 are in Jamnagar Rural seat. There are just three candidates each in Jhagadia and Ganadevi constituencies, both Scheduled Tribe seats.

Wherever there are more than 16 candidates, two ballot units will be put up.

On the seventh and last day of campaigning on Thursday, Modi, BJP President Amit Shah, Rupani and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath addressed several public meetings. The main face of the Congress campaign has been Rahul Gandhi.

The Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), which has been agitating against the BJP government for more than two years, has been asking people not to vote for the saffron party, a subtle message to vote for the Opposition.

Click here for detailed coverage of Gujarat Assembly Election 2017

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