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Goa awaits the victor of February 4 election
Last Updated : 09 Mar 2017 02:15:21 PM IST
Goa awaits the victor of February 4 election
(File photo)


After a wait of more than a month, the fate of 251 candidates who contested the February 4 assembly election in Goa will finally be known when the ballots polled in over 2,500 EVMs are counted on Saturday.

The Congress, the BJP and the AAP ran the most high-octane campaigns, along with regional parties like Goa Forward and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, which contested in alliance with Shiv Sena and the Goa Suraksha Manch, mentored by former state RSS chief Subhash Velingkar.

When Goa went to polls on February 4 along with Punjab, there was 83 per cent voting, which equalled the polling percentage of 2012.

A majority of the 15,590 postal ballots have been accounted for, according to Election Commission officials.

But opposition parties have accused the BJP of trying to badger bearers of the postal ballots, mostly government servants who were engaged in the electioneering process, to vote for it, a charge Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar has rejected.

For the 40 assembly seats, the BJP fielded candidates in 36, the AAP in 39, the Congress in 37, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) in 25 and the NCP also in 37 seats.

While the AAP, Congress, the BJP and the MGP had initially claimed victories with a comfortable majority, top leaders from the Congress as well as the MGP over the last few days have said that they were open to support from like-minded legislators.

"If other candidates believe in the Congress ideology, programme and manifesto, they're free to support us," state Congress President Luizinho Faleiro said on Wednesday.

While the Congress contested the election on its own, it did have a strategic alliance with United Goans for two seats.

The Chief Ministerial face of the MGP, Sudin Dhavalikar, also said that his party was open to an alliance, if such a situation arose, while also insisting that the MGP, one of the state's oldest regional parties, could come to power on its own.

Some of the key issues which were hotly debated during the month-long campaign were a ban on casinos, proposed by the Congress, AAP and GSM in their election manifestos, along with bringing down of prices of essential commodities and promises of doles.

The opposition also focussed on corruption by the BJP-led coalition regime even as the BJP banked on the development executed during its five-year tenure.

The BJP did not name a Chief Ministerial candidate, ignoring incumbent Parsekar. Its leaders hinted that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar could be brought back to state politics.

The February 4 election also saw Goa earn the credential of being the first state in the country to fully implement the electronically transmitted postal ballot system and the VVPAT technology, which allows voters to verify whether they have voted correctly.

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