Voting for the single-phase polls in two states – Goa and Punjab - is well underway, in the first round of the staggered legislative assembly elections that will go on for over a month.
Punjab is all set for a three-cornered tussle for the 117 assembly seats, as the Congress and the AAP are vying to dethrone the incumbent Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) combine that has been in power since March 2007.
In Goa, as many as 251 candidates – from the BJP, Congress and new entrant, Aam Aadmi Party, along with the recently-formed alliance of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, the Goa Suraksha Manch and the Shiv Sena – will battle it out in the 40 constituencies.
Results will be declared on March 11.
Below are live updates:
8.15pm: Election Commission says 75% voter turnout in Punjab.
8pm: Re-polling has been recommended at Margao constituency (South Goa) due to faulty procedure, EC to take final decision.
7pm: Voter turnout of 70% (tentative) recorded in Punjab till 5pm says Election Commission
6.45pm: Record voter turnout of 83% in Goa, says Umesh Sinha, deputy election commissioner.
100% webcasting was done in Goa on all the polling stations: Election Commission.
6pm: Nearly 70% polling has taken place in Punjab, an election office spokesperson told PTI giving the preliminary figures of poll percentage.
5:20pm: Entry of voters to polling station closed at 5pm in Punjab, only those inside can vote now.
5:10pm: Polling ends in Goa, reports ANI.
4:55pm: Punjab has recorded an overall voter turnout of 66% till 4 pm, reports ANI.
4:25pm: AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal questions polling time in Punjab, asks why it is one hour less in Punjab.
As per EC notification, polling time in Goa from 7 am to 5 pm but in Punjab, it is from 8 am to 5 pm (one hr less). Why?— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) February 4, 2017
4:10pm: Punjab records 52% voting till 4pm.
3.40pm: Reports of shots fired outside a polling station in Guru Har Sahai in Punjab.
3.05pm: Punjab records 50% turnout across the state at 3 pm. Goa’s tally rises to 67%.
While election day in the two states has been largely peaceful so far, one mild altercation unfolded outside a polling station in Majitha, involving SAD’s Bikram Majithia and Congress’ Lali Majithia. Watch:
2:20pm: Polling rates pick up rapidly in the state with turnout reaching nearly 44%. Ludhiana alone records 50% at 2 pm.
2:00pm: Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee President Captain Amarinder Singh along with his wife MLA Preneet Kaur and family members comes out his residence to cast his vote at Government College for Women in Patiala.
1:40pm: Congress’ Capt Amarinder Singh casts his vote:
1:35pm: Turnout rises to 35% in Punjab as of 1 pm. Additional director general of police VK Bhawra said that no untoward incidents were reported. An EC spokesperson told PTI that the technical snag reported in voter-verified paper audit trail machines in Majitha and Sangrur was reported to the Commission.
The voting started around 45 minutes late at two polling booths in Jalandhar and Amritsar due to technical glitches in their Electronic Voting Machines.
1:15pm: Goa crosses the halfway mark, registering 53% voter turnout at 1 pm. The representation of women is so far higher at 28% while the percentage of men who voted is 25%.
1:00pm: By noon, 32% voters in Punjab had cast their votes across over 22,000 polling stations. Long lines reported across the state, including Mohali, Jal North, Khanna, Jalandhar.
By noon, ‘appreciation letters’ that were being distributed to first-time voters ran out in Khanna constituency.
In Goa, Anil Jholapure of the NCP was detained and released after four hours by police for unruly behaviour near TB Cunha booth in Aquem.
12:50pm: A 78-year-old senior citizen collapsed while waiting to vote at a polling station in Panjim. He was rushed to a nearby private hospital where he died. Identified as Leslie Saldanha, he is reported to have suffered a heart attack.
12:00pm: Machine breaks down in a polling booth in TB Cunha in Margao assembly constituency. People sent away from polling booth. Election Commission to look into the matter.
11:50am: “Will give Rahul Gandhi a great gift with Congress’ revival,” says Navjot Singh Sidhu as he arrives to vote in Amritsar, with wife Navjot Kaur.
11:50am: Punjab records an overall voter turnout of 14% till 11.30 am.
11:35am: Goa registers an impressive 34% turnout till 11am. 35% of voters participated so far in North Goa and 32% in south. Overall, the percentage of both men and women voting is the same at 17 each.
11:25am: Despite the cold wave across the Majha region, voter turnout was high from the start of the day. The region comprising four districts, from Pathankot to Tarn Taran and in between Gurdaspur and Amritsar, has 25 assembly seats and there are 252 candidates in the fray.
Majha will matter the most for the SAD that is saddled with 10 years of anti-incumbency, coupled with uprising of sorts in its citadel, the Malwa.
11:20am: SAD MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal casts her vote, says that Punjab needs a government that works with the Centre and not one adversarial to it and “certainly not the one that ruined Delhi.”
She also levels a serious allegation against AAP, saying they have “direct links with the ISI” and that recent incidents prove it.
11:15am: Cricketer Harbhajan Singh, along with his mother Avtar Kaur, cast their votes at polling booth no.23 in Jalandhar.
He tells ANI that whoever wins in Punjab, he hopes that they put the state’s welfare ahead of party affiliations.
11:00am: Voter turnout rises to 13% in Punjab.
10:55am: “We’ll have a bigger win than last year. Amarinder Singh is only drama and AAP is in 3rd position,” Shiromani Akali Dal’s Sukhbir Singh Badal tells ANI before casting his vote. Chief minister Prakash Singh Badal votes at a polling booth in Lambi.
“Amarinder Singh is dal-badlu (turncoat) .I have 70 years of experience and I’ve fought for Punjab and India, this is a small battle,” says the CM.
10:50am: Punjab records an overall voter turnout of 12% till 10.30 am.
10:15am: “Goa and Punjab will create history today,” Kejriwal tweeted shortly after polling began. “All people must go out and vote. Also take along people from your ‘pind’ (village) for voting. And vote for honest politics,” he said in another tweet.
A rejection by the voters here will be a severe setback to the political startup which nurtures an expansion plan beyond Delhi. Read more here.
10:00am: Punjab has recorded overall polling percentage of 10% of the total 1.98 crore voters till 10 am, PTI reports. The early voters in the state includes General JJ Singh (Red) of SAD, Pargat Singh of Congress, Sucha Singh Chhotepur of Apna Punjab Party (APP), and Bhagwant Mann, Gurpreet Singh Ghuggi and Sukhpal SIngh Kahiara of AAP.
9:50am: First-time voters given teddy bears in Goa. 40 ‘all-women’ managed polling stations have been set up by the Election Commission. 11.10 lakh voters will decide the fate of 251 candidates, including 19 women in Goa. A total of 32,354 first-time voters are registered to cast ballot in Saturday’s state assembly polls, reports IANS.
And roses were given to the first ten voters by Fazilka police.
9:40am: “The environment is charged and very positive, we are confident of a win,” says Captain Amarinder Singh’s wife, Preneet Kaur.
AAP’s Gurpreet Ghuggi casts his vote at a polling station in Bathinda, says voting is our right and must be exercised.
9:30am: North Goa has recorded a voting percentage of 16%, while South Goa recorded 14% with an overall turnout of 15%, as of 9 am, reports ANI.
9:15am: Meanwhile, polling gets well underway in Goa. Over 11 lakh Goans are eligible to vote across 1,642 polling booths for the 40 seats in the coastal state. Read more here.
The technical snag in voting machines has been fixed in one of the booths under Jalandhar Central constituency in Punjab. There was a delay of half an hour.
8:40am: ANI reports that polling at booth no.124-125 in Amritsar began 40 minutes late due to a glitch in EVM machine. In Mohali, Aam Aadmi Party candidate Bhagwant Mann argues with polling officials over the malfunctioning machines.
8:30am: Technical issues with Electronic Voting Machines in Mohali keep voters waiting. Polling delayed at Jalandhar too.
8:25am: Goa chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar casts his vote at a polling booth in North Goa’s Arambol. “We will win with complete and comfortable majority, will continue development work and most importantly job creation,” he tells ANI.
Former Goa RSS chief Subhash Velingkar also cast his ballot in Panaji. Velingkar said that the alliance between the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Goa Suraksha Manch and Shiv Sena would win 22 seats.
“The BJP government has to go and will go. The RSS cadre in Goa will not vote for them. The Goa BJP and Parrikar are responsible for the maladies the state is suffering,” Velingkar said, IANS reports.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief ministerial candidate Elvis Gomes also cast his ballot.
8:05am: Gen JJ Singh (Retd), the Shiromani Akali Dal candidate standing against Congress’s Amarinder Singh in Patiala Urban constituency, casts his vote.
“He loves challenges. In Arunachal Pradesh also he wanted a challenging area,” says wife of Gen JJ Singh (retd) on him contesting against Congress’ Amarinder Singh.
8:00am: Voting begins in 117 constituencies in Punjab, 1145 candidates to contest. The Election Commission has put in place elaborate security arrangements across 22,600 polling stations where voting will end at 5pm.
It is for the first time that Punjab’s politics is witnessing a three-horse race that officially began on January 4 after the EC announced a single-phase election for the 117 assembly seats in this border state. Read more here.
7:40 am: Candidates seek blessings at Amritsar’s Golden Temple, as voters wait for polling to begin at 8am.
7:30am: “Initial reports suggest good turnout, Goa might cross last years turnout of 84% and BJP will win with two-thirds majority,” Parrikar tells ANI after casting his vote in Panaji. The 2012 state assembly polls in Goa recorded a highest-ever voting percentage in the state with 82.2%, IANS reports.
BJP’s campaign involved several national leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP party president Amit Shah addressing public meetings to rally support for the candidates.
7:15am: Defence minister Manohar Parrikar stands in line at a polling booth in Panaji to cast his vote.
7:05am: “Urging people of Punjab and Goa to turnout in record numbers and vote in the assembly elections. I particularly urge my young friends to vote,” tweets PM Narendra Modi.
Young voters hold special significance, according to the Election Commission, with 27% of Punjab’s total voters and 23% in Goa fall in the age group of 18-30, PTI reports.
7:00am: Security deployed outside polling station in Goa’s Panaji; voters queue up at polling station to cast their vote.
Over 8,000 additional paramilitary personnel, in addition to the state police, have been despatched to the 1,642 polling stations across the state and other locations to maintain law and order, IANS reports.