Around 53 per cent voting was recorded till 15.00 hrs of polling across 87 seats in the first phase of Gujarat polls which will decide the fate of state political big-wigs like Keshubhai Patel, BJP's R C Faldu and Congress' Arjun Modhwadia.
"18 per cent polling was recorded till 11:AM," Election Commission officials said.
Long queues where seen outside some polling booths as people preferred to come early to vote.
The constituencies where polling started include 48 in seven districts of Saurashtra, 35 seats in seven districts of south Gujarat and four seats in Ahmedabad district.
Leaders like former Chief Minister and GPP president Keshubhai Patel, BJP state unit president R C Faldu, state finance minister Vajubhai Vala and state Congress president Modhvadia cast their vote in the early morning hours.
A total of 846 candidates are in fray. For this phase, BJP has fielded candidates on all 87 seats going to the poll, whereas Congress is contesting on 84 and Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) on 83 seats.
48 seats in Surendranagar, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Porbandar, Jamnagar, Amreli and Bhavngar are considered crucial as political observers are keenly watching on how former Chief Minister and bete noire of Modi, Keshubhai Patel factor plays out in the region.
Fate of many state political heavyweights, who are contesting elections like Keshubhai Patel, Assembly Speaker Ganpat Vasava, Gujarat BJP president Faldu, Modhwadia and Leader of Opposition Shaktisinh Gohil will be decided today.
The Election Commission has made robust security arrangements to ensure that voting is carried out peacefully by deploying security forces in the areas going to polls in first phase.
Out of total 1,81,77,953 voters, there are 95,75,278 men, 86,02,557 women and 118 other voters who are likely to use their franchise.
EC has set up 21,261 polling stations and will use the same number of EVMs in the first phase polls.
Voting of the second phase will take place on December 17 for the remaining 95 Assembly seats and counting will be held on December 20th.