The statistics released by the State Election Commission have revealed that until 2 AM on Saturday, about 39.06% of 7.91 voters in Goa cast their vote in the ongoing Zila panchayat election in the state. As per the reports, 39.62 per cent votes were recorded in North Goa district and 38.45 per cent votes in South Goa district. This poll is the first major polling exercise in the state since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Goa Zila polls underway after a 9-month delay
About 203 candidates from 48 constituencies in Goa are participating in the polls for the Zila Panchayat, which is currently underway. The Bharatiya Janata Party has fielded 43 candidates, while the Congress has fielded 38 candidates, followed by the Aam Aadmi Party and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party with 17 each. There are also 79 Independent candidates in the frame. The voters' pool for these elections surged to a tally of 7.91 lakh people, that are deemed eligible by the election commission to cast a ballot.
Goa has 50 Zila Panchayat seats but one unopposed candidate has already been declared victorious, while a candidate contesting from the Navelim seat in South Goa district has died, forcing the State Election Commission to countermand polling in the constituency.
COVID-19 fears result in low turnover
The State Election Commissioner has urged voters to step out and participate in the elections, which were originally scheduled to be held on March 22. However, the polls were postponed after the Central government imposed a nationwide lockdown from March 25 to control the Covid-19 pandemic. The turnover on Saturday remained under the 40% mark as people fear the spread of the transmissible coronavirus infection, via the high contact EVM machines.
The Election Commission has also permitted coronavirus positive people in the state to cast their vote only in the last hour of polling, as per reports. Here, the patients need to make sure that they are securely wearing a PPE kit, to prevent contamination of the polling booth or the surrounding areas.
- With inputs from IANS