State goes to the polls on Saturday; 10.25 lakh voters will decide fate of 215 candidates

Campaigning for the 40-member Goa Assembly elections formally came to an end on Thursday with candidates going all out to reach out to voters. The polling is on Saturday.

With stringent election code monitoring in place, canvassing remained largely peaceful but entirely colourless.

While the curbs on liquor were successful in keeping voters from being unfairly influenced, the same cannot be said for money power. With most of the candidates having businesses like real estate, mining, and fishing trawlers, money power was rampant.

With the poll monitoring system (PMS) set to be introduced across the entire State for the first time in the country, voting will begin on at 7 a.m. and end at 5 p.m.

The election machinery has been fully geared for holding a free, fair and peaceful election, said North Goa Collector Mihir Vardhan here.

A total of 215 candidates are in the fray for the election, in which 10.25 lakh voters will be eligible to cast their votes. The State has a 1006:1000 female to male ratio of voters but only 9 women candidates are in the fray.

There are 1,612 polling stations across the State. The Election Commission has declared 114 locations as critical while 66 have been declared vulnerable. In all, 180 micro-observers have been appointed to oversee these locations.

A total 10,644 poll personnel, 3,526 security personnel, including Central forces, have been pressed into service.

Goa has achieved the target of 100 per cent coverage of election photo identity card and photo electoral rolls.

Through the PMS, records of each voter will be obtained through photo and thumb impression ahead of the voting. Due to the problem of connectivity in some areas, PMS would not be entirely online, said Mr. Vardhan. He also clarified that online matching of thumb impression and photograph would not be done and instead these documentations would be stored for future use.

Mr. Vardhan said the EC had decided to display election updates on its website every two hours.