Lowest (35 per cent) polling recorded in Mormugao by-election

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Panaji, Oct 31 (UNI) By-election to the Mormugao Parliamentary constituency in south Goa today recorded a mere 35 per cent of voter turnout, considered the lowest in the history of Parliamentary elections in the state.

On the other hand, only a voter cast his vote while all other 2,600 voters boycotted the poll despite officials pursuing them in Kundai village of Ponda taluka in protest against a local mutt issue.

The polling was the lowest this time as against 58.3 per cent in the 2004 election in south Goa electing Churchill Alemao (Congress), whose resignation on May 8 last to enter the state politics through the June 2 assembly elections necessitated the by-election in Mormugao, according to State Election Commissioner Ramesh Negi.

The polling, however, was peaceful with no untoward incident reported in the constituency. The counting of votes will be held in Margao on November 3.

The low voter turnout was despite the constituency having key segments representing heavyweights like Chief Minister Digambar Kamat (Margao), Home Minister Ravi Naik (Ponda), Mr Alemao (Navelim), his brother and Urban Development Minister Joaquim Alemao (Cuncolim), Agriculture Minister Mickey Pascheco (Benaulim-NCP) and Power Minister Aleixo Sequeira, besides MGP's Davlikar brothers (Priol and Madkai) extending support.

The polling began on a dull note since 0800 hrs with poor turnout of the electorate.

The by-election is seen as a test of strenghth between the Congress and BJP.

Former Chief Minister and Speaker Francisco Sardinha was pitted against former minister and veteran 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 electronic voting machines are being used.

(Ed: Here pick up suitably from related series) UNI

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