Voting began on a lazy note at 8 am, at around 13,000 polling stations in the state. Secured by police and paramilitary personnel, the turnout limped to just over 15 percent by afternoon, leaving political parties worried about their prospects.

Polling, however, picked up during the last three hours to hover around an average 47 percent, 4 percent higher than the 43.8 percent in the 2010 municipal elections.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state controls six of the eight municipal corporations, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Rajkot, Surat, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar that went to the polls.

The terms of Gandhinagar and Junagadh are yet to end. Rajkot city topped with a maximum of 50 percent turnout, followed by Bhavnagar with 49 and Jamnagar with 47. All three cities fall in the Saurashtra region that has a sizeable population of the Patel community which is on a warpath with the Anandiben Patel government over their demand for reservation.

The state's commercial capital Ahmedabad and cultural hub Vadodara too saw around 47 percent voter turnout each. Surat, that cuts and polishes nearly 80 percent of the diamonds exported from the country, scored the lowest turnout of 44 percent.

Official sources said every city must have received an average of three major complaints about absence of and deletion of voters names from electoral lists.

Congress and Patel agitation leaders said the BJP was scared that the community, which has always remained with the party through the decades, was deserting it this time after the pro-reservation agitation.

They alleged from media outlets and public platforms that there was 'conspiracy' to prevent a large number of Patels from voting.

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