A rush of voters was witnessed across Gujarat in the morning with the voting percentage touching around 20-21 per cent till 11 a.m. in the state.
“In the first four hours the voting percentage is around 20—21 per cent in the state,” Additional Chief Electoral Officer Ashok Manek said.
Polling began for all the 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat where elections are being held on Wednesday in a single phase amid tight security arrangements.
More than 4.05 crore electors (2.12 crore male and 1.93 crore female) will decide the fate of 334 candidates who are contesting from 26 seats of the state, where the main fight is between the Congress and the BJP.
Prominent among those in the fray are Chief Minister and BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi (from Vadodara) and veteran BJP leader L.K. Advani (Gandhinagar).
Congress leader Madhusudan Mistry is challenging Mr. Modi in Vadodara, while senior leader Shankarsinh Vaghela is contesting from Sabarkantha.
The Aam Aadmi Party, striving to emerge as a third alternative in the state, has fielded candidates in 24 seats.
Voting will take place amid extreme heat conditions in the state, with the maximum temperature remaining above 43 degrees Celsius in many parts. Weather forecasters have warned that the extreme heat conditions will continue on Wednesday too.
The Election Commission of India has extended the time of casting of votes by two hours. They have also made arrangements for water at polling booths.
Elaborate security arrangements have been made with more than one lakh police and paramilitary personnel being deployed to ensure free and fair polls. The ECI has identified 23 per cent booths out of 45,380 polling stations as vulnerable and critical.