Panaji: The polling process for two Lok Sabha Constituencies and by-polls for three Assembly constituencies in Goa began at a peaceful note.
State is going for voting in two Lok Sabha Constituencies and three assembly constituencies including Shiroda, Mandrem and Mapusa.
The voting will be conducted over around 1,600 polling booths where more than 11 lakh voters will exercise their franchise.
All the main national political parties – BJP, Congress, AAP and Shiv Sena are in the fray for the elections along with regional outfit – MGP which is contesting only in Shiroda Assembly constituency.
There are 12 candidates in the fray for the two Lok Sabha constituencies and 18 for the three Assembly seats.
The by-elections in Shiroda and Mandrem were necessitated after their sitting Congress MLAs resigned andjoined the ruling BJP. The Mapusa seat fell vacant following the death of its sitting MLA.
Suspension of mining and fall in tourism revenue are some of the issues on which the ruling BJP and opposition Congress in the coastal state traded charges during the campaign.
The BJP has fielded its sitting MP and Union AYUSH Minister Shripad Naik from North Goa against state Congress chief Girish Chodankar, while the AAP has nominated its state general secretary Pradeep Padgaonkar from the seat.
In South Goa, BJP’s sitting MP Narendra Sawaikar is pitted against Congress’ former MP Francis Sardinha, AAP’s Goa convener Elvis Gomes and Shiv Sena state vice president Rakhi Prabhudesai Naik.
In the Shiroda Assembly seat bypoll, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) president Deepak Dhavalikar is locked in a battle against BJP candidate Subhash Shirodkar, Congress’ Mahadev Naik, AAP nominee Yogesh Khandeparkar and Santosh Satarkar of the Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM).
In Mapusa Assembly seat, BJP’s Joshua D’Souza is pitted against Congress nominee Sudhir Kandolkar, GSM’s Nandan Sawant and AAP’s Shekhar Naik.
BJP’s Dayanand Sopte is fighting against Congress’ Babi Bagkar, Independent candidate Jit Arolkar and GSM’s Swaroop Naik in the Mandrem Assembly seat.
During the poll campaigning, the state chief electoral officer received several complaints, including against a Christian priest, for violation of the model code.
The priest issued an apology over his remarks against BJP president Amit Shah, Modi and Goa’s late chief minister Manohar Parrikar.
The Election Commission gave a clean chit to AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal after a complaint by a local BJP leader that he tried to incite religious sentiments and create fear among the state’s Muslims and Christians.
After the enforcement of the model code of conduct, flying squads seized cash, liquor and drugs worth around Rs 2.8 crore across the state.
The polling booths in the state will be guarded by the state police and paramilitary forces, an official said.