High voter turnout will benefit us, claim both BJP and Cong
"The people came out in large numbers to vote for BJP. Voters have seen our good governance for last five years. They came out as they want BJP to continue in power," state BJP chief Vinay Tendulkar said reacting to the high polling percentage.
"The high vote percentage is against BJP's U-turns, corruption and taking people for granted," All India Congress Committee secretary Girish Chodankar said.
Inputs from PTI
Sharp divide in voting pattern
Assembly constituencies located in the mining, tourism belts and rural areas of of Goa recorded a very high voter turnout, but the Catholic-dominated seats saw a comparatively lower polling, according to EC figures.
According to Goa Chief Electoral Officer Kunal, who released final figures last night, the overall polling percentage stood at 81. Out of the 11.10 lakh registered voters, 8,98,507 exercised their franchise.
Poll panel's awareness campaigns seem to have paid out
The Election Commission apparently spent Rs 40 lakh to organize a session in Panjim on 25 January, on how to mobilize a larger turnout than in 2012. That day, it did not seem that they could have much success, since voters by and large did not seem very enthusiastic about the array of parties.
In any case, Goa’s 82 per cent turnout in 2012 had already been very high by most standards. But the voters seem to have obliged
Record turnout despite tepid response to campaigns is startling
That Goa voter turnout will break last election's record is startling, given the lack of enthusiasm among voters until the last couple of days of the campaign. It could bring good news for AAP in some constituencies, given what I described as a `ripple of support’ (rather than a noticeable wave).
Many voters were holding their cards close to their chests - not revealing their preferences.
'Spineless' Election Commission has surrendered to Modi: Kejriwal
Calling it "spineless", Arvind Kejriwal alleged that the EC has "completely surrendered" before Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Kejriwal's remarks came in response to reports of people allegedly visiting polling booths with party symbols and other campaigning material, and also campaigning on social media and TV on polling day.
Goa deputy chief minister Francis D'Souza is locked in a multi-cornered contest from his home constituency Mapusa.
Unlike Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar who is facing tough times in Mandrem, D'Souza may not encounter any major hiccup in wining Mapusa seat for the fifth consecutive term.
His 2014 controversial statement that India was a Hindu nation and that he was a Christian-Hindu may come handy in the Hindu majority Mapusa, North Goa's business hub.
Among the six candidates in the fray includes Congress' Vijay Bikhe, AAP's Shradha Khalap and MGP's Vinod Phadke who is facing corruption charges for misappropriation of funds as an office bearer of Goa Cricket Association.
D'Souza's erstwhile Goa Su-Raj Party has also fielded it's candidate. D'Souza had won his first election as it's candidate in 1999 after a failed attempt in 1989 as an independent.
He later joined BJP and emerged as it's Christian face and won Mapusa seat in 2002, 2007 and 2012 when he was anointed deputy chief minister.
Poll officials at Government Primary School, Dhuler of Mapusa said that they were witnessing smooth but heavy polling. There are four polling booths in this school and by 3.30 pm over 65 percent voters had exercised their right to franchise.
Goa election polling update: North Goa 70% South Goa is 65%. Total 67%
Brisk to heavy polling is being witnessed in Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar's home constituency.
Polling was delayed at one of the two booths located inside Government Primary School, Madhalamaj with EVM malfunctioning. According to a polling officer, voting was delayed by 75 minutes.
Parsekar has been winning this seat repeatedly. However, he is not in a comfortable position this time with Congress party, erstwhile ally MGP and AAP making his situation shaky. Yhey have chosen this constituency to show their might against the CM.
With BJP deciding against naming him their chief ministerial face, Parsekar finds himself locked in a fierce seven cornered contest. Prominent among his rivals in the fray include Dayanand Sopte of Congress party, Devendra Krishnaji Prabhu Parsekar Desai of AAP and Shridhar Ladu Manjrekar of MGP.
Long queues are being seen here with polling officials expecting about 85 percent voter turn out.
Goa has recorded an overall voter turnout of 67% till 3 PM
No matter which party comes power, they should stick to their poll promises, says a voter at Part 29 (Krishi Bhavan) in Panaji.
Senior citizen dies after cardiac arrest at Goa polling booth
A 78-year-old woman died after suffering a cardiac arrest outside a polling booth in Panaji, officials said on Saturday. Speaking to reporters, District Magistrate Nila Mohanan said that the deceased, Leslie Saldanha, was rushed to a private hospital by the staff where she was pronounced dead.
Goa Voting update till 1pm in Mormugao - 55.48% Cortalim-48.19%, Dabolim-48.82% Vasco-41.42%
Manohar Parrikar is no longer the larger-than-life popular leader he was five years ago
Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar does not retain his earlier status as a larger-than-life leader of contemporary Goa.
Nobody speaks of him as the one who inspires them — not one in a series of conversations with voters during a journey that has taken one through more than half of Goa’s 40 constituencies over the past fortnight, from Mandrem in the far north to Carmona in the south, and from east of Ponda to Vasco Da Gama at the western end of Mormagao...
Even on polling day, trends are not clearly discernible — notwithstanding tall claims by the ruling BJP and the challenger, AAP. In fact, the observation of a voter in Vasco Da Gama a few days ago — that `everyone is confused, even the parties are confused' - rings true even today.
Voter turn out in North Goa 55%, in South Goa 52%. Total voter turnout in Goa till 1 pm 53%
EVM malfunctioning delayed voting by half an hour at one of the Siolim's polling booths. Polling resumed after a new EVM was installed.
There are in all eight candidates in the fray, including two Independents. BJP's Dayanand Mandrekar, the sitting MLA is seeking re-entry to the Assembly.
A polling official at St. Francis Xavier's School said voting was going on smoothly. There are two polling booths inside the school building. While in one booth 55 percent votes were cast by 1 pm, it was slightly lower in the other with 53 percent voters turning out to exercise their right to franchise.
Voting going on smoothly at Booth no. 18 of Calangute constituency. People were seen coming with their voters' ID card and standing quietly in the queue.
"It's going on smoothly here. Response is very good. I guess about 40 percent votes have already been cast in the past five hours since voting started at 7 am," a Goa police officer on duty at the booth said.
No political workers were visible for last minute coaxing to vote for their party. Calangute constituency with three candidates has least number of aspirants in the fray - BJP, Congress and AAP.
"Jo jeeta wahi sikander, " said a voter flaunting indelible ink mark on his finger, adding it's tough to predict who has edge in this constituency.
Several first-time women voters who cast their ballot in Goa, were given pink teddy bears. Also, the polling booths are decorated with pink balloons, pink table cloths, pink walls, while polling officials were also seen wearing pink clothes.
"The teddy bears were given to first time voters in 40 specially designed polling booths across Goa," Chief Electoral Officer Kunal told IANS.
Over 1,000 teddy bears have been ordered by the election officials.
High turnout is often associated with anti-incumbency
The 16 percent turnout reported from north Goa sounds like there’s more enthusiasm there than in south Goa, where the figure was 14 percent. High turnout is often associated with anti-incumbency. But, in the north, it probably won’t favour the Congress, which is relatively stronger in Christian-dominated Salcete in the south. Beyond that, it’s difficult to say which way these votes might go. They may be scattered towards different options, but might consolidate behind one candidate in each constituency.
Early turnout in Goa has been twice as much as in Punjab
The early turnout in Goa has been twice as much as in Punjab. To a large extent, that has to do with the weather. While it’s pretty cold in Punjab, Goa gets very hot after around 11 am, and stays hot till around 4 pm. So, no wonder, Goans would want to go to their polling booths early and voters in Punjab would want to wait for the early morning cold to subside a bit.
Voters have started coming in. There's not a long queue but more people are expected to walk-in after 11- 11:30 am. Security in polling booths has been beefed up.
'BJP will form the next govt in Goa'
Union AYUSH minister Shripad Naik on Saturday expressed confidence that BJP would be forming the next government in Goa with a comfortable majority, bagging 21-26 seats in the 40-member State Legislative Assembly.
“We are going to get the majority votes. My prediction is that we will get between 21 to 26 seats,” said Naik. “Considering the response received by BJP, we feel the party will get two-three more seats than the last time. The voters have shown tremendous enthusiasm in favour of BJP which was witnessed during the election campaign,” the minister said.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday said that he is a "party man" who will work as per the directions of party leaders while choosing to keep mum on the whether he will return to Goa.
"Iske bareme apko Aamitji ne kaha hai, jo kaha hai utna hi mai wapas repeat karoonga (I will repeat what Amitji (Amit Shah) has said on this issue). I am a partyman, let party decide," he told reporters when asked if he would be the next Goa CM, if his party is voted to power.
When pointed out to his remarks that he likes Goan food, Parrikar responded, "I have lost four kg in Delhi, the main reason is food."
"I have not said anything I only said I like Goan food. You can derive any meaning out of it," he commented.
Parikkar is my target becasue he is solely responsible for the tragedy that came to us: Subhash Velingkar, rebel RSS Chief
Though BJP has provided stability to the state, it does not guarantee the party's success
The south-western coastal state Goa, which until not long ago was known for redefining the ‘Aaya Ram, Gaya Ram’ brand of politics originally authored by Late Bhajan Lal as Haryana chief minister, is staring at a crucial voting taking place Saturday to elect its new State Legislative Assembly.
BJP provided the rare stability and managed to run the government without indulging in horse-trading, virtually ending what is locally known as ‘suitcase politics’, symbolising purchase of elected lawmakers with money power.
That stability, however, is no guarantee to BJP’s success with the confusion prevailing on the eve of polling.
Polling for Goa's 40 Assembly seats started at 7 am on Saturday morning. A total of 251 candidates are contesting the polls. Over 8,000 additional paramilitary personnel, in addition to the state police, have been deployed at the 1,642 polling stations across the state and other strategic locations to maintain law and order.
Goa has 11.08 lakh registered voters, who are entitled to exercise their franchise.
Polling ends at 5 pm.
The 2012 state Assembly polls recorded a highest ever voting percentage in the state last year at 82.2 percent.
As Panaji: Goa transitions from the pleasant comforts of the mild winter sun into harsher tropical weather, the coastal state's political clime also appears to be following suit, with the state headed for crucial assembly elections on February 4.
As campaigning for the elections ended on Thursday, the mood of the state appears complex and difficult to comprehend considering a multi-corner battle between representatives of four national parties, six regional parties and heavy-weight Independent candidates. In all 251 candidates are vying for the 40 seats up for grabs on Saturday.
While the ruling BJP is contesting in 36 seats and supporting two Independent candidates, the Congress has fielded 37 candidates, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) 39 and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) 18. Former allies of the BJP, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), former RSS leader Subhash Velingkar-mentored Goa Suraksha Manch and the Shiv Sena (SS) have fielded 26, five, and three candidates respectively as part of a 'Mahagatabandhan'.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar at a polling booth in Goa. PTI
While all major players have expressed confidence of winning a majority in the upcoming polls, leaders of nearly all the parties confirm off record that the state could be heading for a hung assembly with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress emerging with bigger chunk of votes.
"That is one of the reasons why there have been no bitter and serious allegations levelled against each other, because in a chaotic post-poll scenario, one doesn't know who will need support from which party or individual," a senior BJP leader told IANS on condition of anonymity.
The BJP officially claims that the party will win 26 seats, five more than their last tally, but Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday set the bar higher for his party workers and voters.
"We are aiming and confident of winning a two-thirds majority. We are confident the work done by our government in Goa will help us get that number," the former Goa Chief Minister told a press conference on Thursday.
The BJP has promised to wipe out unemployment among youth in its election manifesto.
Some of the key issues which have been discussed in course of the campaign by various political parties includes corruption by the BJP government, scandals of former Congress ministers named in several multi-crore scams, AAP's choice of candidates and its 'non Goan' volunteers, the fissures between the BJP and the MGP, as well as the running feud between Velingkar and the state BJP leadership.
The AAP, which has promised to double existing government doles and reduce prices on a wide range of necessities ranging from fish to electricity tariff, has also claimed victory in 26 seats.
"Goans will sweep away the Congress and the BJP with a broom on February 4. We have had enough of corrupt and divisive politics by them," said Elvis Gomes, a former bureaucrat and AAP's chief ministerial candidate.
The Congress, which was reduced to an unprecedented nine assembly seats in the 2012 polls, expects to come to power a majority without any allies.
"The corruption of the Goa BJP and their misgovernance has shown the people of Goa that only the Congress can deliver inclusive and effective governance," Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh told IANS on Thursday.
The three-party alliance between the MGP, GVM and SS, which is targeting the majority Hindu vote, is also being watched keenly, because its collective performance could determine the winning chances of the BJP, which also benefitted from the consolidation of the majority vote-bank in the last polls.
Also while the Shiv Sena and the Manch have gone on record saying they would not ally with the BJP in a post-poll hung assembly scenario, the MGP has kept its options open.
"The MGP will work towards providing Goa a stable government," says the alliance's chief ministerial candidate Sudin Dhavalikar.
Velingkar, who has sacked from the RSS following ideological differences with the Goa BJP and Parrikar, has however vowed not to align with the saffron party.
"We will never ally with people who have betrayed Goa and its culture," Velingkar said.
Nearly 11.08 lakh voters are eligible to cast ballot in the 4 February polls in 1,649 polling booths across the state.