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Curtains fall on polling in Goa and Uttarakhand

Voters wait in a queue to cast their votes during the Uttarakhand Assembly elections, at Bhoopatwala, in Haridwar on Monday (Pic. Courtesy ANI)

B. Sanjay

Curtains fell on the single phase polling in Goa and Uttarakhand while voting on 55 seats in western Uttar Pradesh went off peacefully.

Goa with 40 assembly seats recorded over 75% voter turnout while Uttarakhand also touched nearly 60% till 5pm. Turnout in western UP also clocked around 60 per cent.

In Goa. all eyes are on Panaji, from where Utpal Parrikar, son of BJP stalwart, Manohar Parrikar is contesting as an independent candidate. Utpal quit the BJP, after the party refused to give him ticket. He's being challenged by BJP's Atanasio Monserrate and Congres' Elvis Gomes. A high stake battle is also being fought in Sanquelim, the turf of Goa chief minister, Pramod Sawant. Aam Admi Party's chief ministerial candidate Amit Palekar and BJP's Antonio Caetano have locked horns at St. Cruz assembly berth. Incicentally this is the first electoral foray for the BJP without its stalwart and master strategist, former chief minister, Manohar Parrikar.

Even though AAP and Trinamool Congress are in the fray, the main fight is between Congress and BJP. It may be mentioned that in 2017 even though Congress had more seats than the BJP, it failed to form the government. While Congress had 17 seats, BJP had bagged 13. Following the high turnout, the Goa chief minister claimed that the party would bag at least 22 seats.

Uttarakhand with 70 assembly seats recorded over 60 percent polling. The fate of 632 candidates was sealed as the voting ended around 6pm. Unemployment and price rise have emerged as the key issues in this hill state. Even as the main fight is  between the Congress' old warhorse and former chief minister, Harish Rawat and BJP chief minister, Pushkar Dhami, AAP, which has been working at the grassroots level for over two years could damage both the outfits.

Key constituencies in the state are Hatma from where the chief minister, Pushkar Singh Dhami is contesting and Lalkuwa the turf of former chief minister and Congress leader, Hrish Rawat. AAP's CM face, Ajay Kothiyal is contesting from Gangotri assembly seats. He is facing BJP's Suresh Singh Chauhan and Congress' Vijapal Singh Sajwan.

The second of the seven phase election in Uttar Pradesh saw a voter turnout of around 60.44 per cent, nearly six per cent less than 2017.  In this Muslim and Jat dominated belt, the BJP is facing a tough fight. The SP alleged over tampering of VVPAT in Behat assembly seat in Saaharanpur district. However, the authorities concerned termed these allegations as "baseless." The 55 seats  which went o polls are spread across nine districts and have a sizeable Muslim population influenced by Deoband and Baldevi sects. This particular region is considered to be A SP stronghold. The BJP which had won 38 of the 55 seats in this region have played the aggressive Hindutva card to appeal the majority voters.

Also Read: Stage set for high stake battles in Goa and Uttarakhand– 55 seats up for grabs in western UP as well