Representative image | Photo: ANI
Panaji: While the counting of votes of Assembly polls is proceeding in the state, BJP leading with 18 seats, while Congress trails with 14 seats in the 40-member Goa Assembly.
Counting of votes polled in the February 14 Assembly elections in Goa began on Thursday morning in the coastal state, where the ruling BJP is seeking a third straight term in power, while the opposition Congress is hoping for a clear mandate to avoid the fiasco of 2017.
Two prominent BJP rebels – Laxmikant Parsekar and Utpal Parrikar – were leading against their rivals in the counting of postal ballots in Goa on Thursday, an official said.
Former Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, who contested the Assembly election from Mandrem seat as an Independent candidate, said he is equidistant from both Congress and BJP, amid predictions of having a hung assembly in the state.
Counting got underway at 8 am at Government Polytechnic at Altinho in Panaji for 19 Assembly constituencies in North Goa and at Damodar College in Margao town for 21 seats in South Goa, an official said.
Altogether 302 candidates contested the elections which saw multi-cornered fights due to presence of many smaller and regional outfits besides the BJP and the Congress, the two major political forces in Goa.
The voter turnout was 79 per cent.
Most exit polls have predicted a hung House, amid talk of various post-result scenarios.
Double COVID-19 vaccination certificate has been made compulsory for entering counting centres, where three layers of security are in place.
Elaborate arrangements have been made at both the counting centres and all the results are expected around noon, the official said, adding anyone eligible to enter will have to carry either a negative RT-PCR certificate or double vaccination proof.
Besides BJP and Congress, Goa Forward Party, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Aam Aadmi Party and Trinamool Congress apart from independents contested the polls.
In the 2017 Assembly polls, despite winning 17 seats, the Congress could not come to power as the BJP, which had bagged 13 seats, allied with some independents and regional parties to form the government under the leadership of Manohar Parrikar.