72% vote, turnout highest

PTI, PANAJI | 02 June 2007 19:15 IST

An estimated 72 percent of 10.10 lakh voters on Saturday excercised their franchise for elections to the 40-member Goa Assembly, which passed off peacefully.

"This is a historic turnout as 2002 elections had 68.79 percent voting in the state and this time average is 72 percent," Goa's Chief Electoral Officer Ramesh Negi told a press conference.

He said the election was 'exceptionally' peaceful with 'high' enthusiasm.

Negi said there has been a progressive increase in percentage of voting in Goa.

In 1999, 63.50 percent had voted and in 2002 assembly elections it was 68.79 percent.

Despite continuous rains, voters came out in considerable number as long queues were seen at most polling booths including, rural talukas of Sanguem, Sattari, Quepem and Valpoi.

Goa has been hit by pre-monsoon showers for the last couple of days.

Saturday's balloting would decide the fate of 202 candidates, including Chief Minister Pratapsinh Rane.

Besides six former chief ministers, prominent among others in the fray are Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar and Speaker Franscisco Sardinha.

Congress-NCP combine is contesting 38 seats, BJP 33, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) 26, Communist Party of India 4, Goa Suraj Party 1, Janata Dal (S) 12, Republican Party of India (A) 4, United Goans Democratic Party 11, Shiv Sena 7 and former Congress MP Churchill Alemao-led Save Goa Front 17 seats.

Counting will take place on June 5.

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