A high voter turnout of over 83 percent was on Saturday recorded in the Assembly polls in Goa, where the ruling BJP is engaged in a fierce fight with the Opposition Congress, AAP and an alliance of MGP, Shiv Sena and GSM for the 40-member House.
According to EC sources, the poll percentage could go up as there are long queues of voters at many booths across the state even after 5 PM. Heavy polling was witnessed in the mining belt of Sankhalim, Bicholim and Curchorem. The election passed off peacefully with no untoward incident reported from anywhere in the coastal state expect some cases of EVM glitches and cancellation of voting in one booth.
A 78-year-old man died outside a polling booth in Panaji city. Leslie Saldanha, who was waiting to cast his vote, collapsed and died, officials said. ECI’s data from various polling booth showed that over 83 per cent of 11.10 lakh voters turned up to exercise franchise.
An impressive 83 per cent voting was recorded in the state in 2012 assembly polls, which saw the BJP wresting power from the Congress. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, widely seen as the chief ministerial face of the BJP, Union Minister Shripad Naik and Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar were among the early voters who cast their ballots.
People in large numbers turned up at the polling stations right from the morning amid pleasant weather. A total of 250 contestants are in the fray, which include many independents. The election is being closely fought by major political forces - BJP, Congress, AAP and the MGP-led alliance. The polls will decide future of Goa’s five former Chief Ministers - Churchill Alemao, Pratapsinh Rane, Ravi Naik, Digambar Kamat and Luizinho Faleiro and the incumbent Parsekar.
BJP has put up 36 aspirants, Congress 37 and AAP is contesting on 39 seats and each of them backing independents in a few seats. BJP, which had a pre-poll alliance in 2012, is going it alone this time after the MGP snapped the partnership and forged a front with Goa Suraksha Manch floated by RSS rebel Subhas Velingkar and Shiv Sena. Counting of votes will be taken up on March 11.