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35% polling in Gujarat

Nearly 32 to 35 per cent of 3.36 crore voters on Tuesday exercised their franchise for the 26 Lok Sabha constituencies from Gujarat.
PTI | By Press Trust of India, Ahmedabad
PUBLISHED ON APR 20, 2004 09:48 PM IST

Nearly 32 to 35 per cent of the 3.36 crore voters on Tuesday exercised their franchise for the 26 Lok Sabha constituencies from Gujarat which was marred by sporadic incidents of violence in Mehsana, people abstaining from venturing out due to the severe heat and a boycott by residents of four villages to protest "lack of basic amenities".

In Mehsana, police lobbed several tear gas shells and resorted to mild lathi charge to disperse a mob that attacked the convoy of the Congress' Jeevabhai Patel and damaged two of his vehicles.

Patel got himself admitted to the civil hospital where he was declared "unhurt and in a perfect condition."

People of two communities resorted to stone pelting in Borsad town of Anand district after "rumours of bogus voting spread." However, timely intervention of police brought the situation under control.

The fate of 162 candidates, including Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani and four Union Ministers Kashiram Rana, Bhavnaben Chikalia, Dr Vallabh Kathiriya and Harin Pathak of the BJP was sealed in the EVMs.

Also in the fray were Shankersinh Vaghela, Tushar Chaudhary, son of leader of Opposition in Assembly, Bharat Solanki, son of former External Affairs Minister Madhavsinh Solanki of the Congress and Vithal Pandya, father of slain BJP leader who contested as an Independent against Advani. 

In another incident in Dharampur village of Valsad Lok Sabha constituency, police officials received minor injuries when two groups pelted stones after a minor incident turned ugly. The situation was, however, quickly brought under control.

In Godhra, Congress candidate Rajendrasinh Patel's vehicle was also stoned allegedly by BJP members just outside a polling station forcing police to fire in the air to disperse the groups before the incident spread.

The incident occured when Patel, who went to a school following reports of bogus voting, was prevented from entering the polling station by the presiding officer that led to a war of words followed by groups' pelting stones at his vehicles and damaging it, police sources said.

Meanwhile, several villages registered nill voting in Gujarat even as barring three persons, a majority of the 2,500 odd voters of Muthiya village under the Kapadvanj Lok Sabha constituency too boycotted the polls on Tuesday.

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