Goa will decide the fate of over 250 candidates, among whom 40 will enter the legislative assembly on March 11. Polling for all 40 constituencies of the Goa Legislative Assembly began at 7 AM today with sparse queues outside booths.
Goa’s former CM and current Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was among the early voters who voted at the polling booth located in the heart of Panaji city at around 7.20 AM.
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 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.
The coastal state is also the first state in the country to opt for electronic transmission of postal ballot to service voters.
Doing away with the traditional method, the ballot papers are sent to service voters who can download it and send it back to the returning officer via email after voting for candidate of his choice.
Though 2012 Goa Assembly elections witnessed satisfactory 83 per cent voting, the election commission officials have run an awareness campaign for the voters in order to increase the bar. Various icons from different fields were engaged to spread message about ethical voting by the commission.
For the current polls, 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.
There is also speculation that Parrikar, a former Goa chief minister, might be sent back as its next CM if BJP retains power in the tourist state.
(With inputs from the PTI)