Ahmedabad: The first phase of the 12th Gujarat assembly elections witnessed a record 70.75 per cent voting turnout in the 87 assembly constituencies spread across seven districts in Saurashtra and South Gujarat and four seats in Western Ahmedabad, the Election Commission said on Friday.
A polling percentage of 64.39 was recorded in the 1995 state assembly elections, while there was a 63.70 turnout in 1967, which was the second assembly election after its bifurcation from Maharashtra. In the 2002 assembly elections, held in the aftermath of post-Godhra riots, 61.55 per cent turnout was recorded while 60.37 polling took place in the 1975 assembly polls.
However, there has been a rise in the number of voters following electoral roll revision and continuous updating of the previous list and close to 15 lakh new voters were added to the list.
Narmada district in South Gujarat recorded the highest 82.21 voting percentage followed by Tapi with 80.43 per cent voter turnout. Navsari and Bharuch each recorded 75 per cent polling while Valsad recorded 73 per cent voting.
Porbandar, which sends two MLAs to the 182-member state legislative assembly, recorded the lowest voting percentage of 66.39. Jamnagar, Amreli, Bhavnagar, Junagadh and Surendranagar registered 68.48 per cent, 67.21 per cent, 69.11 per cent, 69.71 per cent and 69.79 per cent voting respectively.
Rajkot, the district dominated by Leuva Patels, recorded 71.01 turnout. Among assembly constituencies, Dediapada in Narmada district, a seat reserved for Scheduled Tribe (ST) candidate, recorded the highest 88.31 voter turnout while Junagadh in Junagadh district recorded the lowest polling percentage of 60.71.
Voter turnout has risen by 10.98 per cent, from 59.77 per cent (for 182 constituencies) recorded in the 2007 state assembly elections. In the history of Gujarat, only in four previous state assembly polls, has the voting percentage been above 60 per cent. While, polling percentage in the rest seven assembly elections in Gujarat have ranged between 48 and 59 per cent.
A considerably high voter turnout, from the previous assembly elections, has caused anxiety among political parties with BJP calling it pro-development votes while the Opposition Congress terming it anti-incumbency votes. However, the performance of rebel BJP outfit Gujarat Parivartan Party, founded by former chief minister Keshubhai Patel, could well determine the fate of BJP and Congress.