Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) supremo Keshubhai Patel on Thursday said the people would vote for a change in the state, and added that Chief Minister Narendra Modi would be thrown out of power after the assembly polls.
"There is a wave of change in entire Gujarat now, be it the tribal areas, coastal region, Ahmedabad, towns or villages," said Patel.
"People have rejected him. The children poke fun at him. Narendra Modi will go this time," he added.
The former Gujarat Chief Minister cast his vote here as polling in 87 constituencies for the first phase of assembly polls began at 8 a.m. amidst tight security in the state.
Patel, considered to be Modi's arch political rival, is banking on the support of his 'Leuva Patel' community, which dominates 17 constituencies in Saurashtra and Kutch. The 'Patels' are a key 20 percent of Gujarat's electorate.
Patel's Gujarat Parivartan Party is contesting 83 of the 87 seats that poll today.
The fate of 846 candidates will be decided in this phase, out of which 46 are women.
Prominent candidates in this phase include Keshubhai Patel, Assembly Speaker Ganpat Vasava, Gujarat BJP President RC Faldu, State Congress President Arjun Modhwadia and Leader of Opposition Shaktisinh Gohil.
Out of total 1,81,77,953 voters, there are 95,75,278 males, 86,02,557 females and 118 other voters.
For this phase, BJP has fielded candidates on all 87 seats going to the poll, whereas Congress is contesting on 84 seats.
Elaborate security arrangements have been made to ensure free and fair polling. A total of 44, 579 polling stations have been set up. Moreover, it is for the first time that senior police officials from other states have been deployed by the Election Commission of India as police observers in all sensitive districts.
The polling will come to an end at 5 p.m.
The second phase of polling in Gujarat will take place on December 17. The counting of votes will take place on December 20. (ANI)