Goa Congress, BJP ready to go to polls on Valentine’s Day

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Political parties in poll-bound Goa have welcomed the decision of the Election Commission of India (ECI) to hold state assembly elections on February 14. While state Bharatiya Janata Party president Sadanand Shet Tanavade said that the party is geared up for the polls, All India Congress Committee senior observer for the Goa polls P. Chidambaram also said that while the Covid situation was worrying, holding elections is also important.

“I welcome the decision of the ECI. They have prescribed guidelines, which say that no road shows and public meetings should be held till January 15. The BJP had already postponed public meetings from January 5. We have already taken the decision in view of Covid,” Tanavade said.

“BJP will win with the blessings of people of Goa and hardwork of party workers. We will win with a full majority,” he said.

“We will abide by the law. The pandemic situation is worrying. But we will observe the rules and conduct our election campaign in accordance with the guidelines. We appeal to the people to follow Covid restrictions,” Chidambaram said, while “accepting” the poll schedule. “But elections are equally important. Elections must be held,” he also said.

Earlier on Saturday, Goa’s Chief Electoral Officer Kunal (he does not use a surname) said that the election machinery was in readiness to implement the guidelines put forth by the ECI in Goa.

“No padyatra, no nook meeting or any kind of meeting (will be allowed). We will be strictly monitoring. Right now our teams are in places to enforce from the defacement point of view. Goa Prevention of Defacement of Public Property will be strictly enforced. Request all stakeholders to ensure that they adhere to law of land,” Kunal told reporters here, adding that apart from static surveillance, two flying squads had been constituted in each of the 40 assembly constituencies.

“Covid situation we are monitoring daily. One is the Health department guidelines and secondly is the guidelines by the ECI. So, Health department has said no meetings over 100 and ECI has said no meetings until January 15,” Kunal also said.

“So we expect around 20,000 personnel will be part of the election process to man 1,722 polling booths in Goa,” he said.

Goa polls would be formally notified on January 21, while the last date for nomination of candidates is January 28. The candidature will be scrutinised on January 29 and the last date for withdrawal of candidates has been set at January 31 for the polls, which will be held on February 14, which incidentally is Valentines Day. Results will be declared along with all other four states on March 10.

The state has 5,62,500 male and 5,93,960 females listed voters, along with four third gender voters taking the total tally of eligible voters to 11,56,464.

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