Voting for the single-phase polls in two states – Goa and Punjab – has started, in the first round of the staggered legislative assembly elections that will go on for over a month.
Punjab is all set for a for the 117 assembly seats, with the Congress vying with the AAP to dethrone the incumbent Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) combine that has been in power since March 2007.
Nearly 2 crore voters will decide the fate of 1,145 candidates in 117 constituencies. Voting will take place across 22,600 polling stations under the vigil of 36,000 paramilitary troopers and over 60,000 Punjab Police personnel.
Results will be declared on March 11.
Below are the live updates:
8:40am: ANI reports that polling at booth no.124-125 in Amritsar began 40 minutes late due to a glitch in EVM machine. Polling delayed at Jalandhar too.
8:30am: Technical issues with Electronic Voting Machines in Mohali keep voters waiting:
Voter’s waiting for their turn after technical problem in EVM mechines in Mohali Punjab @HTPunjab @htTweets @aarishc @vinayak_ramesh pic.twitter.com/0za4CgMf6a— Ravi kumar (@Raviclik)February 4, 2017
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.
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.
Read | Punjab election: Drugs, despair and decline fuel demand for change in state
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.
At polling booth no.123-124 at SD College in Pathankot (Twitter/@ANI_News)
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.
Read | Goa election: A lot at stake for BJP, AAP in this multi-cornered fight
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.
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 in the 40 constituencies. Over 11 lakh Goans are eligible to vote across 1,642 polling booths for the 40 seats in the coastal state.
Security deployed outside polling station in Goa’s Panaji; voters queue up at polling station to cast their vote #GoaPolls pic.twitter.com/uM1Elm98uD— ANI (@ANI_news)February 4, 2017
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.
Read | Assembly elections: Make-or-break for Kejriwal, Modi’s test in Punjab and Goa