Panaji: After beginning on a slow note, voting for the Panaji assembly seat bypoll here today picked up in the first two hours recording a turnout of 30 per cent electorate till noon. Polling began at 8 AM and is underway across 30 booths of the constituency. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was among the first few to cast their votes in the morning at a booth in the heart of the city. Nearly 22,000 electorate will cast their franchise in this bypoll which will decide the successor of Parrikar, who had to resign from the seat to take up the assignment at the Centre.

BJP’s Siddharth Kuncolienkar, Congress’ Surendra Furtado and two independents-Samir Kelekar and Sadanand Vaigankar are in the fray for the bypoll. Joint Chief electoral officer Narayan Navti has appealed  to the people for coming out in large numbers to vote. As per the Election Commission of India, there are no sensitive or hyper sensitive booths in the constituency but a company of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has been pressed into service along with the state police for security measures.

During 2012 State Legislative Assembly election, the constituency had witnessed 77.13 per cent voting, giving a winning edge to Parrikar. For the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, 73.27 per cent voters had turned up for casting their vote. The counting for the bypoll would be held on March 16 at Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG) compound near here.