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Poll frenzy as dry as Sabarmati in city Friday, September 21, 2001
By Tushar Prabhune, AsianAge
Ahmedabad, Sept. 20: A virtual lack of enthusiasm among people during the Sabarmati Legislative Assembly by-elections held on Thursday was evident from meagre 33 per cent turn out. Only 10 per cent voting was reported in the constituency between 8.00 am to 10.00 am that increased to a 12 per cent till 12.00 noon. Till 4.00 pm the percentage of voting stood at 29.14.
According to the returning officer on election duty DM Virani, no untoward incidents like booth capturing or bogus voting were reported and the polling in all 322 sensitive booths was completed peacefully.
Even as voting began at 8.00 am, many polling booths in Sabarmati ward wore a deserted look till afternoon with people coming in ones and twos. However, many booths in the Naranpura and Wadaj wards witnessed more voting with people flocking in since 8.00 am.
Also, a strict checking of identity cards of the voters was maintained at all the polling booths and the voting took place amid heavy police bandobast. One police inspector was posted at all the poling booths, while State Reserve Police and Rapid Action Force were deployed to ensure free and fair voting.
Election identity cards ration cards, driving license, passport and 28 different documents that prove the identity of the voter were allowed for voting. Many voters in different wards had to return without casting their vote when the election officers and the police insisted on identity cards and incidents of petty arguments with the presiding officers were reported from many areas.
Meanwhile, unruly scenes were witnessed at the Vijaynagar School in Naranpura ward when Congress MLA from Jodiya, Raghavaji Patel and corporator of the area, Nitin Patel exchanged blows. According to sources, the trouble started when some BJP workers entered the school premises with the Tri-colour flag.
The Congress workers present at the polling booth took a strong objection to this and complained to the police that the BJP workers had entered the school premises without the identity cards issued to the polling agents. This resulted in a severe verbal combat between the workers of both the parties.
Also, BJP candidate, Babu Patel got a taste of stringent checking norms when he was on his round in Naranpura. The officer on election duty was deputed from Surat and apparently did not recognise the candidate. Mr Patel was not wearing any identification card and therefore, the officer, G.S Parmar stopped him from entering the polling booth in the R.B. High School.
Mr Patel’s supporters packed in about 10 cars following him, at once created uproar and while the officer realised his mistake and quickly relented. He also explained that only one person along with the candidate is allowed to enter the premises. Finally, the supporters moved to a distance of 100 mts away from the booth and Mr Patel with one supporter went in to check out the happenings in the booth.
News Source : The AsianAge [ The coolest newspaper for city ]