78.94% turnout in Goa on polling day; no violence reported

Panaji, Feb 14 (IANS) After brisk early voting which saw more than a quarter (26.63 per cent) of the state’s eligible voters turning out to exercise their franchise in the first four hours, poll authorities in Goa on Monday said that 78.94 per cent (provisional figure) voters cast their votes in the Assembly elections, which were held over a single phase.
According to Chief Electoral Officer Kunal, 79.84 per cent voting was reported in the North Goa district while 78.15 per cent voting was reported in the South Goa district.
The highest voting percentage was recorded at Chief Minister Pramod Sawant’s Assembly constituency in Sanquelim, where 89.64 per cent voters cast their ballot, while the lowest turnout was reported in the Benaulim Assembly constituency, which reported a turnout of 70.20 per cent.
“These are temporary figures which we have received over phone and SMS from the polling officials. The figures are likely to go up as the final numbers come out and the postal ballots are counted on counting day,” Kunal said.
Barring minor incidents and small verbal clashes between two opposing groups, voting was largely peaceful in the coastal state.
“Polling was very peaceful and there were no incidents of violence. A total of 38 calls were received concerning minor violations of the Model Code of Conduct and minor disputes,” said Inspector General of Police, Rajesh Kumar.
“Five FIRs have been registered, including against two persons who clicked photos of the EVM when they were voting and uploaded them on social media,” the police official said.
Fifty-five companies of paramilitary forces, apart from nearly 5,000 Goa Police personnel, were involved in maintaining law and order in the state on polling day, he added.
Kunal said that 14 control units, 80 ballot units and 12 VVPAT units had to be replaced on election day due to complaints of malfunctioning.
A total of 11,56,464 voters were eligible to cast their votes in the state, spread over 1,722 polling stations with 301 candidates in the fray.
Contesting political parties have expressed confidence of winning the polls.
“We are contesting 40 seats and we are confident that going by the kind of work we have done, we will form the government with a full majority. I will win Sanquelim with a lead of 4,000 votes,” Chief Minister Sawant said.
Leader of Opposition and former Congress Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, on the contrary, claimed that the BJP would be reduced to single digits when the results are announced on March 10.
“The CM says 22 in 2022. If they get eight, it will be more than enough. Their reverse countdown has begun. The response is very good and the response is decisively for the Congress,” Kamat said.
The election campaign was marked by bitter acrimony between the traditional rivals, the Congress and the BJP, with the relatively new entrants to Goa’s political scene, the Aam Aadmi Party, Trinamool Congress and the Revolutionary Goans nipping at the heels of the two main political outfits.
One of the sideshows of the elections was the internal rebellion within the ruling BJP, which saw former Chief Minister late Manohar Parrikar’s son Utpal Parrikar and former Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar contesting as Independent candidates after the BJP denied them tickets.

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