The voter turnout in the second phase of the Gujarat assembly elections till 10am on Thursday was recorded at 11.71%, according to figures released by the Election Commission.

Polling for 93 seats in the second and final phase of the high-stakes Gujarat assembly elections, in which 851 candidates are in the fray, began at 8am.

As many as 22.2 million people are eligible to vote for 61 seats in central Gujarat and 32 seats in north Gujarat across 14 districts.

Counting of votes for all the 182 seats will be held on 18 December.

In 2012 elections, a record 72% voting was seen. The voter turnout in the first phase held on 9 December in Saurashtra and south Gujarat was 66.75%, lower than 70% turnout in the first phase in 2012.

Traditionally, the north Gujarat region, with its 53 seats, including 21 from Ahmedabad district, has been a stronghold of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In 2012, the BJP won 32 seats, while the Congress bagged 21.

North Gujarat also happens to be home to the biggest leaders from ruling BJP—Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP national president Amit Shah, former chief minister of the state Anandiben Patel and deputy chief minister Nitin Patel. It is also home to two of the big leaders of recent agitations—Hardik Patel of Patidar stir and OBC leader Alpesh Thakor. Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani is also contesting in the second phase from Vadgam constituency as an Independent candidate. He is being supported by the Congress which has decided not to field any candidate from the constituency.

Of the 93 constituencies going to polls on Thursday, 52 were won by the BJP and 39 by the Congress in 2012.

According to a report released recently by the Gujarat Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), 21% of Congress candidates and 15% of the BJP nominees for the second phase of the Gujarat assembly polls have declared “serious criminal cases against themselves”. The report was prepared after analysing the affidavits of 822 out of 851 candidates, who are contesting in the second phase of the assembly elections.

Out of the 822 candidates, 199 (24%) have assets Rs1 crore or more. Among the major parties, 66 (77%) out of 86 candidates from the BJP; 67 (76%) out of 88 candidates from the Congress; and 10 (37%) out of 27 from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have declared assets of more than Rs1 crore, according to the ADR report.

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