70% vote in phase II, Modi sounds upbeat
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A record turnout of 70.20 per cent during the second phase marked the conclusion of the Assembly polls in Gujarat on Monday. With 70.75 per cent turnout in the first phase, the average turnout during the two-phase polls was a little over 70 per cent, way above the highest polling so far (63.70 per cent) recorded in 1967. The counting of votes is due on Thursday.
In the second phase, 822 candidates, including Chief Minister Narendra Modi, were in the fray in 95 Assembly constituencies across a dozen districts in north and east Gujarat — Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Dahod, Panchmahals, Kheda, Anand, Patan, Mehsana, Sabarkantha, Gandhinagar, Banaskantha — besides Kutch. Monday's voting sealed the fate of political heavyweights like Amit Shah, ministers Anandiben Patel, and former CM Shankersinh Vaghela.
In Modi's constituency of Maninagar, the turnout was around 71 per cent.
After casting his vote at a polling booth at a high school in Ranip, Modi, who is seeking a third term, told reporters, "I thank all the voters. In this election, people of Gujarat will make a hat-trick by giving a third term to us."
The Congress thanked voters for the high turnout and claimed "the enlightened people of Gujarat have voted in the party's favour and shown anger against the corruption and unjust policies of the BJP".
The otherwise peaceful polling was marred by a firing incident involving BJP MLA from Sahera in the Panchmahals district, Jetha Bharwad, in which four people were injured. Bharwad has been detained and investigation is on.
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