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Polling begins in Gujarat election's first phase

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Gandhinagar, Dec 9 (UITV/IANS) - The first of Gujarat's two-phase assembly polls began on Saturday across 89 constituencies spread out in the 19 districts of Kutch, Saurashtra and southern regions.

A total of 977 candidates are in the fray from Kutch, Morbi, Jamnagar, Surendranagar, Devbhoomi Dwarka, Rajkot, Botad, Porbandar, Junagadh, Amreli, Gir Somnath, Bhavnagar, Bharuch, Narmada, Surat, Tapi, Navsari, Dang and Valsad districts.

Of the 89 seats, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party holds 67 and the Congress 16. One seat each is held by the NCP and JD-U while independents hold the remaining two.

Polling, which began at 8 a.m., will end at 5 p.m. There are a total of 24,689 polling booths.

Of the 2,12,31,652 voters, 1,11,05,933 are males and 1,01,25,472 females while 247 are from the third gender.

The second phase polling is on December 14 and counting, along with that of Himachal Pradesh, will be held on December 18.