Panaji, Oct 31 (UNI) About 30 per cent of the 5.6 lakh electorate exercised their franchise by 1400 hrs amid tight security in the by-election to the Mormugao Parliamentary constituency in south Goa today.
No untoward incident has so far been reported from the constituency except for peaceful boycott of polling by Kundai villagers in Ponda taluka in protest against a local mutt issue.
The polling, however, began on a dull note today at 0800 hrs with poor turnout of the electorate.
The by-election is seen as a test of strength between the Congress and BJP.
Former Chief Minister and Speaker Francisco Sardinha is pitted against former minister and noted gynaecologist Dr Wilfred Mesquita of BJP in a four-cornered contest, the other two being Independents.
As many as 2,79,127 are women voters out of a total 5,60,264 electorate in the constituency, considered the backbone of Goa's economy.
Of the 21 assembly segments in the constituency, Ponda has the highest 37,241 voters and Poinguinim the lowest 15,590 voters. Women outnumber men in nine segments.
Six companies of Central Paramilitary Force, besides 1,500 civil police personnel, have been deployed in the constituency to ensure smooth conduct of the polls at all the 590 booths where the electronic voting machines are being used.
(Ed: Here pick up suitably from BY-1&2) UNI