New Delhi [India], December 1 (ANI): As the voting for the first phase of the Gujarat Assembly elections began on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called upon people, especially first-time voters to come out in large numbers to exercise their franchise,"Today is the first phase of the Gujarat elections. I call upon all those voting today, particularly first-time voters to exercise their franchise in record numbers," PM Modi said in a tweet.
Polling for the first phase of the Gujarat Assembly election began at 8 am on Thursday amid tight security arrangements.
The polling is taking place in 89 constituencies spread across 19 districts of Kutch, Saurashtra and South Gujarat.
A total of 2,39,76,670 voters who will cast their votes by 5 pm today will decide the fate of 788 candidates who are in the fray for the first phase.
Out of the total number of electorates, 1,24,33,362 are males, 1,1,5,42,811 females and 497 are from the third gender. Over 4 lakh PWD voters are eligible to cast their votes.Nearly 9.8 lakh senior citizen voters (80) and nearly 10,000 voters who are 100 and above are eligible to vote.
According to the EC, there are 5,74,560 voters who are between 18 to 19 years of age while 4,945 voters are above 99 years of age. There are 163 NRI voters, of which 125 are men and 38 are women.
There are 14,382 voting centres, out of which 3,311 are in the urban areas and 11,071 in the rural areas.
Live webcasting of 13,065 polling booths in 19 districts will be done during the first phase of voting. A state-level monitoring room is functioning at Gandhinagar by the Chief Electoral Officer. There will be continuous observation from 6.30 am till the completion of the voting process, according to the EC.
As per the instructions of the Election Commission, the entire arrangement has been made. In the first phase, voting will be held at a total of 25,430 polling stations. Out of these 13,065, polling stations will be webcast live.
Among prominent candidates, Gujarat Chief Minster Bhupendra Patel is contesting from Ghatlodia, AAP Chief Ministerial candidate Isudan Gadhvi from Khambhaliya, former Congress leader and BJP candidate Hardik Patel from Viramgam, former Congress leader and now BJP candidate Alpesh Thakor from Gandhinagar South.
AAP state president Gopal Italia is contesting from Katargam constituency, Gujarat Home Minister (State) Harsh Sanghavi from Majura, Rivaba Jadeja from Jamnagar North, former Gujarat minister Parshottam Solanki from Bhavnagar Rural, Kunwarji Bavaliya from Jasdan, Kantilal Amrutiya from Morbi and Jayesh Radadiya from Jetpur.
Former BJP MLA Madhu Shrivastav is contesting as an Independent from Vaghodia.
The counting of votes will be done on December 8. Results of the Himachal Pradesh assembly elections will also be declared on the same day. (ANI)