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Gujarat Polls 2022: From gas cylinders to band-baaja, here’s what voters took to polling booth in Phase 1 voting

Ahmedabad: Cooking gas cylinders became a symbol of protest against price rise in Gujarat on Thursday as some voters carried them to polling stations during the first phase of the Assembly elections.

A member of the Maldhari community went to the polling station with a cow and a calf to highlight the plight of his cow-rearing community. Some voters were in celebratory mood — a marriage party visited a polling centre in Botad district with `band-baja’ before the wedding took place. A Congress leader and an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate rode bicycles to polling stations in Amreli and Rajkot cities, respectively.

Surar resident Jasmin Merchant reached a polling station in Varachha Road constituency with a gas cylinder on his shoulder. His “master” asked him to `touch the feet’ of a petrol tank and gas cylinder before leaving for the polling station, he said.

“The gas cylinder appeared in my dream at night and said it also wanted to cast vote, so I am taking it with me,” Merchant told reporters in a sarcastic tone. 

Congress MLA and former Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Paresh Dhanani too carried a gas cylinder on a bicycle to a polling station in Amreli. “The 27 years of BJP rule has ruined Gujarat. Inflation has affected people badly. The prices of petrol and diesel have crossed Rs 100 while a gas cylinder is available for Rs 1,100. How will the poor survive? My vote is to defeat inflation, slowdown, joblessness and end the corrupt and atrocious government of the BJP,” Dhanani told reporters. 

His daughter, a first-time voter, also rode a bicycle with a tin of edible oil tied on the back to register protest against inflation. Dinesh Joshi, AAP’s candidate from Rajkot West, also rode a bicycle to the polling station, carrying a gas cylinder and tin of edible oil. Junagadh city Congress president Amit Patel walked to the polling station with a gas cylinder on his shoulder, but was stopped by the police from carrying it further. 

Ranjit Mundhva, a member of the Maldhari community, landed at a polling station in Rajkot South constituency with a cow and a calf. He wanted to highlight the plight of the community, which traditionally rears cattle, due to the lumpy virus outbreak, he said. 

For some residents of Dhasa village in Botad district, voting took precedence over wedding. The bridegroom and the marriage party went to the polling station accompanied by a band ahead of the wedding. 

Voting was held for 89 seats across 19 districts of Gujarat’s south and Saurashtra-Kutch regions on Thursday. The second phase of polls will be held on December 5. Counting of votes will take place on December 8.

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