Polling under way for Gujarat local bodies

Ahmedabad: Ballotting was under way in Gujarat on Sunday for the first phase of the two-phase local body elections in 572 municipal wards to pick four candidates each.

Voting began at 8 a.m. at 13,000 polling stations in the state secured by policemen and central reserve police teams. There was no untoward incident reported in any part of the state during the first hour of polling.

The ballotting, however, was suspended for nearly 20 minutes at a polling station in Vadodara after technical glitches in an electronic voting machine, while a middle-aged man fainted ahead of polling at a centre in Ahmedabad.

Over 95 lakh people are eligible to exercise their vote in the first phase that will witness polling in city municipal corporation areas in six of the eight other bodies in Gujarat.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wields control over six of the eight municipal corporations in Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Rajkot, Surat, Rajkot, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar.

Polling picked up a little after ruling BJP patriarch L.K. Advani cast his vote at a polling station in Ahmedabad city’s Khanpur area followed in quick succession by Chief Minister Anandiben Patel in newly-developed Shilaj area of the city.