Low voter turnout in Gujarat, Election Commission criticises urban apathytext_fields
New Delhi: The Election Commission has issued a special appeal to voters in Gujarat asking to reverse the urban apathy in the next phase of the election on Monday. The first phase saw low voter turnout.
The campaign for the second and final phase ended at 5 pm on Saturday. Over 800 candidates are contesting in 92 constituencies across 14 districts of the state. Votes will be counted on December 8.
Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel from Ghatlodia, Patidar leader Hardik Patel from Viramgam, and Other Backward Class (OBC) leader Alpesh Thakor from Gandhinagar South are contesting in the second phase of the election.
The main contenders are BJP, AAP, and Congress. The ruling BJP is facing challenges from rebel candidates in some places. BJP MLA Madhu Shrivastav from Waghodia is contesting as an independent. Former BJP MLAs Dinu Solanki, Dhavalsinh Zala, and Harshad Vasava are also contesting as independents from Padra, Bayad, and Nandod seats.
"Surat, Rajkot, and Jamnagar have recorded lower than the state average voter turnout of 63.3% in the first phase of Gujarat elections. While the voting percentage increased in many constituencies, the average voter turnout figure is dampened by urban apathy of these important districts just as during the recently concluded general election to the legislative assembly of Himachal Pradesh, the urban Assembly Constituency of Shimla recorded the lowest at 62.53% (less by 13% points) as against the state average of 75.6%," said a statement from EC.
The Commission further said cities in Gujarat showed a similar urban apathy trend during voting on 1st December 2022 in Assembly elections which pulled down the percentage of voting in the first phase.