Enthusiastic voter turnout: 83% in Goa, 78% in Punjab

Enthusiastic voter turnout: 83% in Goa, 78% in Punjab

  Punjab and Goa went to the polls on Saturday, the first of the five states where ballots will be cast in phases till March 8. Goa saw a turnout of 83%, Punjab 78%.

Barring a couple of incidents of firing leading to gunshot injuries, polling for the 117-member legislative assembly in Punjab was largely peaceful amid heightened security.

Over 78% voter turnout was registered in Punjab till 5 pm, the Election Commission said. The voter turnout was over 77% in 2012.
Punjab is seeing a three-corner contest between the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combine, Amarinder Singh-led Congress and Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party.

In Goa, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is engaged in a fierce fight with the Opposition Congress, AAP and an alliance of Maharashtra Gomantak Party, Shiv Sena and Goa Suraksha Manch for the 40-member House

Polling at 50 stations in Punjab, including in sensitive Majitha constituency, was disrupted because of malfunctioning electronic voting machines. Hundreds of such EVMs were replaced while the polling was in progress in Sangrur, Muktsar, Bathinda and Barnala.

Authorities also encountered technical snags in many voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines. These machines were used for the first time in Punjab and handed out receipts to voters, verifying their vote through the EVMs.

A large number of first-time voters exercised their right and were given a certificate of appreciation by the EC.

One man, identified as Jagjit Singh, got a gunshot injury in the leg after a clash in Taran Taran district. The village sarpanch was arrested.

Anti-terror squads were deployed in Punjab. Since January 4, liquor, gold, cash and drugs worth over Rs 80 crore have been confiscated in the state.

The big fight in Punjab is in Lambi between SAD leader Parkash Singh Badal, Amarinder Singh and AAP’s Jarnail Singh.

In Goa, according to EC sources, the poll percentage could go even above 83% as there were long queues at many booths 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, officials said.

Similarly in Punjab, a 35-year-old resident of Bhim Nagar in Jalandhar died due to suspected cardiac arrest when he came out of the polling booth at a school in Bashirpura, police said.

An impressive 83% voting was also recorded in Goa in the 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 in Goa, Union Minister Shripad Naik and Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar were among the early voters.

A total of 250 contestants are in the fray in Goa, including many independents.
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 is 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.

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