The first two of hours polling in Goa witnessed 15 per cent voters turning out to exercise their right to franchise in the State Assembly elections. ECI’s data sourced from various polling booth have revealed that there was 16 per cent voting in North and 14 per cent in South Goa constituencies between 7 AM to 9 AM.

Long queues were seen outside almost all the polling stations in the state with estimates of more than 40 per cent voters going to vote before lunch. Except for minor incidents of EVM failures which was rectified later on, polling has remained peaceful across the state. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Union AYUSH minister Shripad Naik, Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and rebel RSS leader Subhash Velingkar were amongst the early voters who turned up at their respective polling booths.

More than eleven lakh voters are eligible to exercise their right in this election which has 250 candidates in the fray. Voting is being held across 1,642 polling booths in the state with para-military forces and State police guarding the venues. The election is being closely fought by major political forces – BJP, Congress, AAP and MGP-led alliance, who have been campaigning in the coastal state for last two months. BJP’s campaign was star-studded with several national leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah addressing the public meeting to rally support for the candidates.

While a large number of new faces are contesting this time, the polls will decide political future of Goa’s five former chief ministers – Churchill Alemao, Pratapsinh Rane, Ravi Naik, Digambar Kamat and Luizinho Faleiro along with present CM Laxmikant Parsekar. Though 2012 Goa Assembly elections witnessed satisfactory 83 per cent voting, the election commission officials in Goa ran an awareness campaign for voters in order to increase the bar.

Various icons from different fields were engaged to spread message about ethical voting by the commission which had strict vigilance on casinos, matka gambling, unorganized vendors and other activities to avoid money and muscle power from influencing the voters.

For the polls underway, AAP is contesting on 39 seats, Congress on 37 and BJP on 36 seats. BJP which had pre-poll alliance in 2012 elections is going alone this time but is supporting independents in four constituencies.