Voting began on a slow note for six municipal corporation polls in Gujarat today where stakes are high for the ruling BJP against the backdrop of Patel quota agitation while Congress is pinning on hopes to make a comeback.
Polling is being held in six municipal corporations — Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Vadodara, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar — all currently ruled by BJP.
In the first two hours after voting began at 8 AM, Ahmedabad city recorded 7.50 per cent turn out, Vadodara 7 per cent, Jamnagar, 8.70 per cent, Bhavnagar, 9.91 per cent, while Rajkot recorded around 7 per cent and Surat 8 per cent, officials said.
VADODARA: Civic polls sees 7% morning voting. So far 8758 out of 1247581 votes polled @IndianExpress
— Aditi Raja (@aditijf) November 22, 2015
BJP patriarch L K Advani and party president Amit Shah cast their franchise at Khanpur and Naranpura wards of the city, respectively.
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Chief Minister Anadiben Patel after casting her vote, expressed confidence that BJP will win.
“We are going to win in this election. After casting my vote I am going to Saurashtra region for campaigning for district panchayats polls,” Patel told reporters.
Counting of votes will take place on December 2.
During the campaigning which witnessed lack of enthusiasm among voters, statements were made by Patel community leaders who have turned against BJP after the government did not accept their reservation demand.
Patels have traditionally been a BJP vote bank.
The election will be a litmus test for BJP after the quota stir that saw the Patel community running an aggressive campaign demanding reservation under the OBC quota and a youth, Hardik Patel emerging as their leader. The campaign also saw by violence at many places in the state.
Meanwhile, Congress is looking at cashing the negative sentiment in the wake of the quota stir and is hopeful of making a comeback.
Sporadic protests by Patel community members were witnessed in Ghatlodia area of the city where they gathered outside some booths and made allegations against the government.