The fate of 301 candidates will be sealed in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) today as voters in Goa will exercise their electoral rights to elect state Assembly representatives in 40 constituencies for the formation of the next state government. The incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is being challenged by the Congress, Trinamool Congress, and Aam Admi Party (AAP) in a multi-cornered electoral contest in Goa.
Sanquelim from where Chief Minister Pramod Sawant is contesting the Goa Assembly elections witnessed the highest percentage of voters’ turnout of 14.32 per cent till the time while 14.26 per cent of people cast their votes in the Priol constituency. Mandrem recorded a voter turnout of 12.91 per cent while around 12.81 per cent of voters participated in polling in the Sanguem constituency, as per the Election Commission of India.
Notably, Goa is facing its first Assembly elections after the death of the former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar who had established BJP in the coastal state. The Panaji Assembly seat has its own importance in the electoral politics of the state. Former Union Minister for Defence Manohar Parrikar, who had represented Panaji, had been a three-term Chief Minister of the state.
On the other hand, Utpal Parrikar, son of former Chief Minister Manohar Parikkar, is also contesting as an independent candidate from his father’s Panaji Assembly seat against the BJP. Utpal Parrikar had resigned from the BJP after he was denied a ticket from the Panaji Assembly constituency.
The BJP has fielded the Congress party turncoat Atanasio “Babush” Monserrate from the Panaji seat. He had joined the BJP along with nine other MLAs in 2019 to help the incumbent Chief Minister Pramod Sawant gain stability in the state.
Sawant is contesting from the Sanquelim constituency against Congress’ Dharamesh Saglani while the BJP candidate from Margao seat, Manohar Ajgaonkar will is pitched against Congress nominee Digambar Vasant Kamat.
There are three political leaders in the fray from Goa’s Valpoi seat — BJP’s Vishwajeet Rane, Goan revolutionary party’s Manoj Parab, and Congress’ Manisha Shenvi Usgaonkar.
From the St Cruz constituency, the AAP has fielded Amit Palekar, who is also its chief ministerial face, BJP’s Tony Fernandes and Congress’ Rudolf Fernandes. Michael Lobo who quit the BJP is contesting from the Calangute seat against the BJP’s Joseph Sequeira. The BJP leader Chandrakant Kolwalkar is contesting from the Quepem constituency against the Congress candidate Ailton Da Costa.
In particular, BJP is contesting Goa polls on all the 40 Assembly seats for the first time and fielded Chief Minister Pramod Sawant from the Sanquelim seat against Congress’ Dharamesh Saglani. Goa Assembly has a strength of 40 members out of which the BJP currently has 17 legislators and enjoys the support of legislators from Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), Vijay Sardesai of the Goa Forward Party (GFP), and three independents. The GFP and MGP each have three MLAs. The Congress, on the other hand, has 15 MLAs in the House. The intense poll campaigning by all the political parties for 40 Assembly seats in Goa concluded on Saturday evening. The counting of votes in poll-bound Goa will take place on March 10.