Goa

75.25% voting in Panaji Assembly bypoll


Panaji, May 19 (IANS): Over 75 per cent of the voters cast their ballots in the Panaji Assembly bypoll on Sunday, which was necessitated following the death of former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar in March.

North Goa Collector R. Menaka said that 75.25 per cent voters exercised their franchise.

Voting began at 7 a.m. with 22,482 voters eligible to cast their votes, of which 10,697 were male and 11,785 female.

Menaka also said that polling was largely peaceful with only some minor complaints of crowds gathering within 200 metres of the polling stations.

"In one polling station the EVM unit, which includes the ballot unit, control unit and VVPAT were replaced due to malfunctioning. In two other polling stations VVPAT machines were also replaced," Menaka said.

The official said there was one complaint of intimidation of a woman voter allegedly by BJP workers, but on being asked it was found that she had already voted.

"We are in the process of conducting a complete enquiry into the matter," Menaka said.

Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Sidharth Kunclaienkar is pitted against Atanasio Monserrate of the Congress, Valmiki Naik of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Subhash Velingkar of the Goa Suraksha Manch for the Panaji Assembly seat, which the BJP has held since 1994.

"The BJP has gone to the lowest levels to defame me. People will pay them back while polling today," Velingkar told reporters.

"Panaji's voters are all set to choose the BJP, as it is the only party which can provide development," Kuncalienkar said.

Congress candidate Monserrate, who has been chargesheeted in a minor's rape case, said the BJP has tried to defame him during the poll campaign.

"The judge who is hearing the case will decide my character. The voters will vote on the basis of the manifesto I presented and my track record," he said.

The bypoll has been necessitated due to the death of former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on March 17, after a prolonged battle with pancreatic cancer.

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