VOTING ENDED peacefully as heavy 94 per cent turnout was recorded for the election to 12 posts of directors of Rajkot Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) here on Tuesday.
Delegates from cooperative bodies of Rajkot, Lodhika and Padadhari talukas of Rajkot district flocked to the APMC premises in Bedi village on the outskirts of the city and cast their votes. Polling was held for eight seats of farmers’ constituency and four seats of traders’ constituency. District registrar of cooperatives and election officer for Rajkot APMC, Sangeeta Raiyani said that while farmers’ constituency recorded 95 per cent turnout, traders constituency registered 93 per cent voting. Out of 1,439 voters in the farmers’ constituency, 1,376 cast their votes. Similarly, in traders’ constituency, 378 voters out of a total of 396 used their franchise.
Incidentally, Raiyani, who is also managing the affairs of Rajkot APMC as government-appointed administrator since last August had suspended licences of 98 traders, leading to suspension of their voting rights. However, the traders moved the Gujarat High Court against the decision of the administrator. The HC allowed the traders to cast their votes but also instructed the election officer to keep their ballots separate. Out of these 98 traders, 87 turned up to cast their votes, Raiyani further said.
Election to Rajkot APMC is being held for the first time since 2008 as series of litigations kept polls in abeyance. Among those whose future has been sealed in ballot boxes is Rajkot district BJP unit president DK Sakhiya. There are 21 candidates in fray for eight seats of farmers’ constituency and nine for four seats of traders’. Outgoing chairman Hardevsinh Jadeja and BJP leader Parsottam Savaliya have already been declared winners unopposed from the twin seats of cooperative union’s constituency.
In the 17-member board of directors of Rajkot APMC, one director is nominated by local body, in this case Bedi village panchayat. The remaining two are nominated by state government.
The Rajkot APMC, one of the largest in the state, is controlled by BJP PM Vitthal Radadiya and Jadeja’s groups and has jurisdiction in Rajkot, Padadhari and Lodhika talukas. Even after Jadeja returned to Congress during the district and taluka panchayat polls last November, the duo have remained united in the APMC.
They have jointly floated Sahkar Panel, which is tipped to win the election.
Counting of votes for farmers’ constituency will take place on Wednesday and results are expected by evening.
“However, votes for traders’ constituency will not be counted. The Gujarat High Court has asked to keep votes of the 98 traders separate and directed us not to declare results for this constituency till April 19,” Raiyani said.