Punjab and Goa on February 4 witnessed a voter turnout of 70 per cent and 83 per cent respectively, in its single phase elections that saw a three-pronged battle between the BJP, Congress and Aam Aadmi Party, which hopes to open its account in the two states.
Around 1.98 crore voters exercised their franchise in the polls in Punjab where 1,145 candidates, including 81 women and transgenders, are in the fray. Similarly, in Goa, about 11.10 lakh voters will decide the fate of 251 candidates, including 19 women. Also, 32,000 young voters will be exercising their franchise for the first time and women voters outnumber men this time.
For a short while, voting was delayed in Majithia and Sangrur following a technical snag in voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines and the matter was referred to the EC. Also, voting started 45 minutes late at two polling booths in Jalandhar and Amritsar due to technical glitches in the Electronic Voting Machines.
Several VVPAT machines, installed for the first time in the ongoing Assembly polls developed snags during the polling process due to which polling had to be called off a number of times, said EC sources.
Ex-Goa RSS chief Subhash Velingkar also cast his ballot in Panaji. He said the alliance between the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Goa Suraksha Manch and Shiv Sena would win 22 seats. He said that the BJP state unit and Parikkar himself are responsible for the various ills the state is suffering from.
The Badals came under fierce attack from AAP over alleged corruption, drug menace and law and order while the SAD-BJP and Congress accused AAP of flirting with extremists and targeted Kejriwal for being an “outsider”.
The firing was alleged at booth number 87, Dera Bassi. Nobody was injured. District Collector Daljeet Singh Mangat said that it was a firecracker there was no firing at Dera Bassi. The police are probing the case, he added.
Punjab witnessed intense competition in Lambi constituency, where Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal will face his predecessor and state Congress chief Capt Amarinder Singh, and the Jalalabad seat where AAP MP Bhagwant Mann seeks to dethrone Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal. Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu will contest from Amritsar East, while Capt Amarinder Singh will also face former Army chief General JJ Singh in Patiala.
Union Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar was among the first to cast his vote in Panaji, while CM Laxmikant Parsekar voted in his North Goa’s Arambol. Parikkar is slated to make a return to state politics if the one goes by what BJP chief Amit Shah said at a rally and if the BJP retains power. He, however, went on to add he was missing “Goan food in Delhi” and people can derive any meaning out of his remarks.
In a tweet, Parikkar urged, “People of Punjab and Goa to turnout in record numbers and vote in the Assembly elections. I particularly urge my young friends to vote.”
Meanwhile, the first time the voting was not without its share of histrionics both in Punjab and Goa. Many first time female voters in Goa came out of polling booths with pink teddy bears along with the indelible ink mark on their fingers. The teddy bears were distributed at select polling stations in a bid to attract young voters to vote. Another first was, 100 per cent electronically transmitted postal ballots were used in Goa. For first-time voters in Punjab were given appreciation certificates.