“The turnout in the 2012 polls — 71.3% — is the highest-ever registered in the state,” said chief electoral officer (CEO) Anita Karwal. “Among the many factors responsible was the voters’ slip distributed by the election authorities and the awareness campaign undertaken by the EC and voluntary organisations. It brought the people to the booths.”
In the second phase — in which voting was held for Ahmedabad, north and central Gujarat and Kutch district — 73.55% turnout was registered among male voters and 70.01% among female voters.
In 2007, Gujarat had registered 59.77% voting. The over-10% rise has created panic among politicians, even though exit polls have predicted a landslide victory for the BJP.
Barring CM Narendra Modi, who had contested from Maninagar, the prominent candidates in the second phase include Gujarat Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela and over a dozen ministers of the Modi cabinet who were in the fray from their respective seats.
Around a dozen tribal reserved seats in Sabarkantha, Panchmahal, Godhara and Vadodara seats were among the 95 seats for which polling was held.
During campaigning, Modi had focused on central Gujarat in a bid to offset likely losses in Saurashtra, where Keshubhai Patel's new party is expected to do the BJP some damage.