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State poll panel aims for 80% voter turnout

Panaji: Stating that the state office of the chief electoral officer will target  achieving 80 per cent voting for the April 23 Lok Sabha polls in Goa, as compared to 76.82 per cent voting at the 2014 parliamentary election in the state, the chief electoral officer for Goa Kunal on Sunday said  that a total of 11,35,811 voters – including 5,55,768 male voters and 5,80,043 female voters – are entitled to vote in the state.  

It was also informed that there are 302 service voters, while 8,5011 voters have been issued election duty certificates.

Furthermore, postal ballots have been issued to 3,473 voters.

A total of 12 candidates are in the Lok Sabha electoral fray in the two districts of the state, with the voters set to decide their future during 11-hour polling exercise on April 23.

In addition, three

assembly constituencies namely Mandrem, Mapusa and Shiroda will also face election on the same day.

“As the electoral campaigning has come to an end today at 6 pm, the 48-hour silent period has begun, with hawk’s eye being kept on violators of election code of conduct, especially as cash, liquor and goodies are provided to voters during this sensitive period,” the state CEO added.

Interacting with media persons, Kunal said  the facility of webcasting has been provided to all 1,652 polling stations in Goa so as to keep an eye on all activities taking place in them.

“Proper security as well as law and order arrangements have been done for conducting free and fair elections,” he added, revealing that the ‘cVIGIL’ app has already been introduced for live, real-time evidence as regards election code of conduct violations, with 33 complaints being received by the state office of the CEO by way of the particular app.

It was informed that the 40 flying squads, one in each assembly constituency, have been kept on toes to act against such violations.

The state CEO said that his office has also received 54 non-app complaints related to the violation of the election code of conduct, out of which 36 have been disposed of, while 18 are pending at various levels.

“During the previous Lok Sabha election, we had set up one Divyang polling station, on experimental basis, which was exclusively managed by differently-abled people,” Kunal stated, adding that this year, two such polling stations would be operating.

The state office of the CEO has also created various facilities for the differently-abled voters, besides providing ramps and railings at every polling station and one wheel-chair procured for each polling booth. The polling stations would also be provided with magnifiers for persons with low vision, and two dummy Braille papers with information for the visually impaired. This time, the election photo identity card  for differently-abled voters will be inclusive of information in Braille system.

There are altogether 7,474 persons – 4,211 in North Goa and 3,263 in South Goa – with disabilities in the state, categorised as visually impaired, hearing impaired, locomotor and others including persons with multiple disability, intellectually disabled persons and so on.

Those specially-abled persons performing their electoral duty would be presented with the ‘most valued voter’ badge, specially prepared by the state office of the CEO.

The state CEO also informed that a team has been in place to monitor social media, with many Facebook groups vibrant in Goa being under scanner.

“However, so far we have not come across any violative message,” he noted.

It was informed that the state office of the CEO has held extensive demonstrations of the electronic voting machines with voter-verified paper audit trail, all over the state.

Around 42,000 people participated in these demonstrations and even carried out mock poll.

PTI ADDS FROM  NEW DELHI: Campaigning for the third phase of polling in 116 parliamentary constituencies on April 23 ended on Sunday with top leaders making a last-gasp effort to sway voters in favour of their respective parties.

Polling will be held in the 115 seats, spread across 14 states and Union territories.

All seats in Gujarat (26), Kerala (20), Goa (2), Dadra and Nagar Haveli (1) and Daman and Diu (1) go to polls in the third of the seven-phase election.

Besides, polling will be held in four seats in Assam, five in Bihar, seven in Chhattisgarh, one in Jammu and Kashmir, 14 in Karnataka, 14 in Maharashtra, six in Odisha, 10 in Uttar Pradesh, and five in West Bengal.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah, Congress president Rahul Gandhi and a host of Union ministers among others canvassed for their party candidates in the past few days, undertaking whirlwind tours of constituencies.

Among the key contestants in the fray are BJP chief Amit Shah (Gandhinagar, Gujarat), Congress president Rahul Gandhi (Wayanad, Kerala), and Samajwadi Party patron Mulayam Singh Yadav (Mainpuri, UP).

During campaigning in Gujarat, two principal parties – the ruling BJP and the Opposition Congress – exchanged acrimonious barbs, with leaders from both groups exuding confidence of a good showing. The BJP had swept all 26 seats in the state in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

In Maharashtra, the prominent seats in the third phase include Jalna, where state BJP president Raosaheb Danveis in the fray against Vilas Autade of the Congress, and Baramati, where Supriya Sule, the daughter of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, is contesting against BJP’s Kanchan Kul.

Another keenly watched seat will be Ahmednagar where Sujay Vikhe Patil is the BJP’s nominee. He is the son of Congress veteran and leader of Opposition in the assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil. Sujay Vikhe Patil joined the BJP in the run-up to the polls, after the NCP refused to vacate the Ahmednagar seat for the Congress. He is now pitted against NCP’s Sangram Jagtap.

Key constituencies in Karnataka to be watched out for during the polls include Gulbarga, where Mallikarjun Kharge is pitted against Umesh Jadhav, who ahead of polls joined the BJP quitting the Congress and as MLA; and Shimogga, where former chief Minister Yeddyurappa’s son B Y Raghavendra is pitted against another former chief minister S Bangarappa’s son Madhu Bangarappa.

In 14 constituencies that will go to the polls in the second phase on April 23, the BJP is contesting all the seats. Congress and JD-S that are facing the polls in alliance have fielded their candidates in 12 and two constituencies respectively.

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