For former Defence minister, Goa Chief Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Manohar Parrikar Monday will be an extremely crucial day. He is in the fray against Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s confidante Girish Chodankar in the Assembly bypolls in Panaji on Wednesday. The Panaji and Valpoi seats in Goa will likely to see a close contest. While CM Parrikar has been fielded from the Panaji seat, which has been a bastion for BJP since 1994, Health Minister Vishwajeet Rane is the BJP candidate from Valpoi. His main opponent is Roy Naik, the son of former state Home minister Ravi Naik, of the Congress, as per PTI report. The bypolls will start at 8 am and will continue till 5 pm. As many as 30 polling booths have been set up in Panaji, while there are as many as 46 in Valpoi. The counting of votes will take place on August 28.
For the Assembly bypolls of Panaji and Valpoi, as many as 51,032 voters are eligible to cast their votes. It includes 22,203 voters and 28,829 voters in respective seats, as per the data given by the Election Commission. Elaborate security arrangements have been put in place to ensure a peaceful voting. According to North Goa Collector Nila Mohanan, around 1,000 personnel from agencies like the Goa police, India Reserve Battalion and Central Paramilitary Forces are deployed at various locations, where polling is to be conducted on Wednesday. The Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines would be used for voting, like it was done in the Assembly polls held in February this year.
The Panaji bypoll is important for CM Parrikar, as the latter has to get elected to the Assembly within six months of becoming the Chief Minister. The seat has been vacated by BJP’s sitting MLA Siddharth Kuncolienkar Parrikar. Valpoi is going through bypolls as its sitting MLA Rane joined the BJP after the Parrikar-led government won a crucial floor test in March this year.