Polls in Punjab ,Goa by and large peaceful barring stray incidents

70% turnout in Punjab, while Goa records 83%
Report by: 
Agencies
Chandigarh
4 Feb 2017

Punjab today recorded an estimated 70 per cent polling during which technical glitches and stray incidents of violence were reported in the state which is seeing a high-stake contest among Congress, new entrant AAP and ruling SAD-BJP combine. "Nearly 70 per cent polling has taken place," an election office spokesman said here giving the preliminary figures of poll percentage. "Barring stray incidents of violence the polling in single-phase remained peaceful," Additional Director General of Police (ADGP- elections) V K Bhawra said. Two persons were injured in a clash which took place between AAP and Congress workers at Sultanpur village in Sangrur district, police said. In Tarn Taran district, a Congress worker identified as Jagjit Singh was injured when an Akali supporter allegedly opened fire at him outside a polling booth in Lalu Ghuman village, they said. A large number of voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines, installed for the first time in the ongoing Punjab Assembly polls, developed snags during the polling process in the state. A technical snag was reported in VVPAT machines in Majitha and Sangrur, an election office spokesman said, adding that the matter had been referred to the ECI. Due to a snag in the machines, polling had to be called off a number of times, Punjab Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) V K Singh said, adding that these machines were replaced by others. Over 79 per cent electors had cast their votes in the 2012 assembly polls. The final figure of today's voting is still awaited as all those who were inside the polling booths will be allowed to vote, an election official spokesman said here. Shortly before the polling was to end, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal "thanked Punjabis for peaceful polling and reposing faith in SAD-BJP alliance."  A statement issued by Badal's spokesman quoted him as saying, "Moved by people's love despite negative agenda."  However, this time around 70 per cent out of the total 1.98 crore electors exercised their franchise to seal the fate of 1,145 candidates including Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, his son and Deputy, Sukhbir Singh Badal, Cabinet Minister Bikram Singh Majithia and Punjab Congress President and the party's chief ministerial candidate, Capt Amarinder Singh. The total number of electors in the state is 1,98,79,069, including 93,75,546 females. There are 415 transgender voters. The total number of candidates in the fray include 81 women and a transgender. Meanwhile, a high voter turnout of over 83 per cent was today recorded in the Assembly polls in Goa, where the ruling BJP is engaged in a fierce fight with the Opposition Congress, AAP and an alliance of MGP, Shiv Sena and GSM for the 40-member House. According to EC sources, the poll percentage could go up as there are long queues of voters at many booths across the state 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 and died, officials said. ECI's data from various polling booth showed that over 83 per cent of 11.10 lakh voters turned up to exercise franchise. An impressive 83 per cent voting was recorded in the state in 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, Union Minister Shripad Naik and Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar were among the early voters who cast their ballots. People in large numbers turned up at the polling stations right from the morning amid pleasant weather. A total of 250 contestants are in the fray, which include many independents. The election is being closely fought by major political forces - BJP, Congress, AAP and the MGP-led alliance. 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 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. Counting of votes will be taken up on March 11.(PTI)