Panaji: Polling for all 40 constituencies of the Goa Legislative Assembly that will decide the fate of 250 candidates began at 7 AM today with sparse queues outside booths.
More than eleven lakh voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in the election being held across 1,642 polling booths in the state with para-military forces and state police guarding the venues.
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.
In characteristic fashion, Parrikar was seen standing among voters waiting for his turn to vote.
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 Chief Electoral Office which has been meticulously preparing for the polls since last six months have added various features for the elections in Goa, making the coastal state to have few firsts.
Besides having several polling booths which will be having all-women crew, Goa will be the first state which will have Voter-verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machine being installed along with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
The VVPAT machines help the voters to ascertain that his vote has gone to the candidate whom he has voted clearing off the doubt about authenticity of EVMs.