High turnout in Jharkhand Assembly bypolls
Beyond Metros, Goa, Punjab

Punjab, Goa set for assembly polls on Saturday

Stage is set for polling in two states including Punjab and Goa on Saturday.

The polling in both states will be held in single phase for all the 117 seats of Punjab and 40 of the tiny coastal state of Goa. In the both states BJP is in power.

There is three-cornered contest in Punjab as Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combine, which is battling anti-incumbency after a 10-year rule, locked in a tough contest with Congress and new entrant Aam Aadmi Party.

In the state, 1.98 crore people are eligible to vote in the high- stake election. Out of the total electorate of 1,98,79,069 in the state, there are 93,75,546 women and 415 transgenders.

In this regard, 22,615 polling stations have been set up across the state. While 83 Assembly seats are of general category, 34 have been demarcated as reserved.

Similarly, Goa will also witness a contest among ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, Opposition Congress, new entrant Aam Aadmi Party and the three-party alliance forged by MGP, GSM and Shiv Sena.

Interestingly, in Goa, fate of five former chief ministers and present Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar will be decided in the election which is being contested by 250 candidates — 131 in South Goa and 119 in North Goa. The counting of votes will be held on March 11.

Over 11 lakh voters in Goa are eligible to exercise their right to franchise to elect members for the 40-seat state Assembly. Voting across 1,642 polling booths in the state would begin at 7 AM and culminate at 5 PM.

In both states, Chief Electoral Officer, working under the guidance of Election Commission of India (ECI), has deployed trained staff to conduct polling which would be provided security cover jointly by state police and paramilitary forces.

The high-voltage poll campaign in the state elections came to an end on Thursday evening after hectic canvassing by various political parties.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi wrapped up his campaign in Punjab during which he kept up the offensive against the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP combine and other rivals who gave back in equal measure.

Similarly, electioneering ended peacefully in Goa. Several star campaigners of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) spoke at gatherings.

It was for the first time in the recent history that Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who has not been keeping well, did not go stumping and the task of spearheading the electioneering was left to her heir apparent and deputy Rahul Gandhi.

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