Goa went to polls on Saturday amid heavy monsoon showers, even as Chief Minister Pratapsinh Rane was forced to go back without casting his vote for forgetting to bring his Electoral Photo Identity Card.
Due to rains the voter turnout was low during the early hours — around 30 per cent — though it later increased to about 66 per cent. The average turnout in Goa is usually upto 70 per cent.
The fates of 202 candidates are now sealed in the ballot box including those of Chief Minister Pratapsinh Rane and his rival from the BJP, Manohar Parrikar.
In a 40-member house, the BJP is contesting 33 seats and has left two to Independents. It has not put up any candidates in five seats in south Goa while the Congress, along with the NCP is contesting 38 seats — 32 and six respectively. While one of the two seats is being contested as an Independent by the Chief Minister’s son Vishwajit Rane, who has promised support to the Congress, one seat has been lost by the party when its candidate Babush Monserrate failed to file his nominations from the party. Monserrate is instead contesting from the United Goan Democratic Party, which has 11 candidates in the fray.
The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak party is contesting 26 seats, Churchill Alemao’s Save Goa Front is testing its fate on 17.
Other parties in the fray are the Janata Dal led by former Prime Minister Deve Gowda, the Communist Party of India and many Independents.
Counting of votes will be on June 5. All the results are expected to be declared the same day.
Earlier, the Election Commission had made Election Photo Identity Card compulsory for those weho had been issued one. Those who are yet to get one are allowed to produce alternative identity proofs to vote.
The chief minister, who arrived at Karapur polling booth in north Goa’s Mayem constituency, at 11.30 a.m. could not exercise his franchise as he forgot to carry his EPIC.
"I will collect my card and return to vote," he said. "The rules are strict but as a common citizen I will have to follow it," Rane said.