‘Susegado’ Goa bitten by holiday mood, polls 72.04 %

AFP File photo.

Goa recorded an unexpectedly low voter turn out at 72.04% (interim), even as poll officials partially blamed the sluggish turnout to the holiday season and a long weekend, which preceded the elections to two Lok Sabha seats and three Assembly bypolls.

While the low voter turnout has surprised poll authorities, who expected at least 80% voting, leaders of the two main national parties, BJP and Congress, which have predictably emerged as the key players in the April 23 polls, claimed victory for their respective parties. 

“We tried our best. What we can say is probably, we were discussing, maybe the holiday season. There was a long weekend kind of thing. Wherever we went before elections people were enthusiastic about participation, especially youth and senior citizen,” Chief Electoral Officer Kunal told DH. 

Releasing provisional voting percentage for the two sets of polls late on Tuesday night, Kunal also said, that 73.92% voting was recorded for the North Goa LS seat, while the South Goa seat saw 70.15% votes polled. In the three bypolls at Mapusa, Shiroda and Mandrem, 75.17, 90.09 and 81.61% (all interim stats) votes were cast. 

Twelve aspirants are in the fray for two Lok Sabha seat — North Goa and South Goa — and 16 candidates are contesting the three Assembly bypolls from Mapusa, Shiroda and Mandrem constituencies. No major law and order problem was reported in Goa, where 11,36,113 voters were eligible to cast a ballot, Kunal said. 

As far as the Lok Sabha elections are concerned, four-term BJP MP and Union Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik contested against state Congress president Girish Chodankar for the North Goa seat, while in South Goa sitting BJP MP Narendra Sawaikar’s key opponent is former chief minister and Congress candidate Francisco Sardinha. 

The three bypolls are also key because their outcome will decide the fate of the Pramod Sawant-led coalition government. Both the Congress and the BJP are tied at 14 seats in the state Assembly which has been reduced to 36 seats, following deaths of two MLAs (including Manohar Parrikar on March 17) and resignations by two. 

Speaking to DH, Chodankar said the BJP would lose 5-0 because of “abysmal” performance of saffron party MPs and poor performance of the BJP-led coalition government in Goa. “The people will teach the BJP a lesson in both elections for taking them for granted,” Chodankar told DH. 

Chief Minister Sawant expressed confidence of the BJP winning all five seats. “The people of Goa are an aware electorate. They know India needs Modi and the state needs a strong and stable BJP government,” Sawant said. 

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