Nearly 54 per cent voters’ turnout was recorded in the Junagadh Municipal Corporation (JMC) elections, the only civic body ruled by the Congress, even as rain gods kept away on Sunday. However, incidents of violence were also reported in some parts of the area.
“Average 54.17 per cent voting has been registered for the 60 seats of JMC. It is possible there might be minor adjustment in the final percentage of voting after we get details from all the polling booths. The polling remained peaceful by and large and no re-polling has been ordered from anywhere,” Junagadh city election officer and Junagadh District Collector Alok Kumar Pandey said.
Till 4 pm, only around 49 per cent of the 2.11 lakh voters had cast their votes. However, the voting picked up in the last-hour polling and eventually went up to 54.17 per cent.
“At few polling stations, there were queues of voters. So we had to extend voting hours by a few minutes at those booths,” Pandey added.
However, the polling was lower as compared to 56.58 recorded during the last elections in 2009. Junagadh Assembly constituency had registered around 69 per cent voting in the Lok Sabha elections held this April. Online voting was also allowed in these elections.
With the completion of voting, fate of incumbent mayor Lakha Parmar and his deputy Girish Kotecha, who are contesting on BJP ticket after quitting Congress last month, with other 11 sitting Congress corporators has been sealed in EVMs. The counting of vote is scheduled for Tuesday.
While voting remained largely peaceful, Congress candidate from ward number 14, Rajdeep Kaneriya was allegedly beaten up by three unidentified men, while he was soliciting votes in his ward on Zanjarda Road.
“The unidentified men told Kaneriya why he was trying in vain as nothing was going to help him and then slapped and kicked him. The men later fled the spot,” B Division Police Inspector Raghuvir Dabhi said.
Kaneriya got himself admitted to government hospital in Junagadh. While police claimed the candidate had not sustained any serious injuries, Kaneriay reportedly remained in hospital till late evening. No detention or arrest was made, though B Division police had registered a non-cognisable offence.
In yet another incident of violence, three BJP workers were assaulted by a group with sticks in ward number 8, while another BJP worker claimed that policemen beat him up despite standing out of the 100 metre radius of a polling station in ward number 5. However, no police complaint was registered in connection with the two incidents.
Both the parties are in direct fight to gain control of the civic body. As many as 156 candidates are in the fray for 60 seats on the general board of the JMC, the only municipal corporation under control of Congress out of eight in the state. While one candidate of the ruling Congress party has been declared elected unopposed, BJP does not have its official candidates on two seats after papers of its nominees were rejected during scrutiny.
JMC employees dismissed
Taking stern action, the municipal commissioner of Junagadh “relieved from service” four ad hoc employees of Junagadh Municipal Corporation (JMC) after they allegedly did not report for poll duty. “The four contract employees had been assigned duty at telephone helpline operation centres and were supposed to report for duty at 7 am. However, they did not report for work till 8.30 am. Considering their negligence, they were relieved from service with immediate effect,” Commissioner Bipin Thacker said.