Panaji, May 23 (IANS) Counting of votes for Goa’s two Lok Sabha seats and four state Assembly bypolls began in two counting centres on Thursday.
In the Lok Sabha polls which were held on April 23, Union Minister of State for AYUSH and four-term BJP MP Shripad Naik took on Congress state President Girish Chodankar for the North Goa seat.
From the South Goa Lok Sabha seat, former Chief Minister and Congress candidate Francisco Sardinha contested against sitting BJP MP Narendra Sawaikar.
Voter turnout for the two seats was recorded at 74.72 per cent.
The first round of Assembly bypolls for the constituencies of Mandrem, Mapusa and Shiroda were held on April 23, along with the general elections.
The Mandrem and Shiroda bypolls were necessitated after two sitting Congress MLAs quit and joined the BJP last year.
The bypoll in Mapusa was held after sitting MLA and former deputy Chief Minister Francis D’Souza died earlier this year.
Barring the Mandrem bypoll, which saw a triangular contest between Congress’ Babi Bagkar, BJP’s Dayanand Sopte and Independent candidate Jit Arolkar, the two other bypolls saw a direct contest between BJP’s Joshua D’Souza and Congress Sudhir Kandolkar in Mapusa and BJP’s Subhash Shirodkar and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party’s Deepak Dhavalikar for the Shiroda assembly seat.
May 19, also saw a bypoll in the Panaji Assembly constituency following the death of former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar following a prolonged battle with pancreatic cancer.
“We are confident of forming the next government in Goa after the results of the bypolls. The Congress will bag more seats than the BJP and then stake claim to form a government with the support of like-minded MLAs,” Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar told IANS.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant however said, that his government is secure and the results of the four bypolls would only help make his government more stable.