Panaji: In keeping with the trend seen elsewhere in the country so far, an all-time-high 76.82 percent of the voters exercised the franchise in the two Lok Sabha constituencies of Goa on Saturday.
Chief Electoral Officer Keshav Chandra told reporters that North Goa constituency recorded 78.60 percent voting while in South Goa it was 75.14 percent.
Chandra said this was the highest turnout witnessed in the state in a Parliamentary election, which broke the earlier record of 61 percent in 1998.
The polling today has been way above the meager 55.30 per cent in 2009 elections.
"The entire election process was peaceful and no untoward incident was reported," Chandra said.
In North Goa, 5,15,247 votes were cast while 5,44,706 people voted in South Goa.
In North Goa constituency, BJP`s sitting MP and former Union minister Shripad Naik is pitted against Congress`s Ravi Naik, AAP`s Dattaram Desai, CPI`s Suhas Naik and former Congressman Dayanand Narvekar (independent).
In South Goa, BJP`s Narendra Sawaikar faces Congress` Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco, AAP`s Swati Kerkar and CPI`s Raju Mangueshkar. Congress denied ticket to the sitting MP Francisco Sardinha from here.
Polling was brisk in the morning despite the scorching sun as more than 40 per cent voters cast the vote in the first few hours. Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar was amongst the early voters. He voted at Mason de Amorim polling booth in Panaji.
Ravi Naik voted at a booth in Ponda Assembly segment.
Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) developed technical snags at eight places. The machines were replaced in booths in Sanguem, Canacona, Mandrem, Saligao, Poriem and Taleigao Assembly constituencies.
The polling dipped a little between 3 pm and 5 pm but picked up later and long queues were seen outside the booths even after the 6 pm closing time.
North Goa`s Sankhalim Assembly constituency recorded the highest with 84.74 per cent while South Goa`s Sanvordem Assembly constituency witnessed 82.27 percent voting.
"The response of voters was a combined influence of the awareness campaign and also the number of young voters," Chandra said. There were 28,646 new voters in the list this time in the state.
The EVMs would now be stored at Bal Bhavan in Panaji and Kare College of Law at Margao.
AAP was the only party which complained of irregularity. It demanded re-polling in North Goa constituency as the name of its candidate with the party symbol `broom` was next to another candidate`s name with the symbol `battery torch`.
AAP claimed that two similar-looking symbols confused voters. "This confused the voters who wanted to vote for the broom," AAP Goa president Walmiki Naik said.
But the Election Commission officials rejected possibility of re-polling, claiming that the political parties were informed in advance about the placement of names on the EVM.