Chandigarh/Panaji, Feb 4: The voting for assembly elections in Goa has started amid tight security. The long queues of enthusiastic voters have started forming outside polling booths. Election Commission has also ordered local police to ensure that elections remain a free and fair exercise. It has also ordered that no political volunteers should be allowed to enter the restricted area to influence voters. However, the Election Commission has displayed charts outside polling stations to help people.

The campaigning in the state came to halt a day before voting. Many heavyweights are locking horns with each other. Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal is contesting from Lambi Constituency. He has been challenged by former Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh. Aam Aadmi Party has fielded Jarnail Singh from the constituency. Another interesting contest will be witnessed in Jalalabad Constituency where Punjab deputy chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal is contesting against Aam Aadmi Party candidate and Member of Parliament Bhagwant Maan.

Punjab is expected to have the triangular contest among Akali Dal, Indian National Congress and Aam Aadmi Party.

In Punjab, 1.98 crore voters are eligible to vote in the high-stake election of which, 1,145 candidates, including 81 women and a transgender, are in the fray. A day before the polls, over 200 companies of paramilitary forces have been deputed in Punjab to control law and order situation during the voting procedure. The assembly

In last few months, the Badal family came under fierce attack of AAP over alleged corruption, drug menace and law and order in the state. On the other side, the Congress had accused AAP of flirting with extremists and targeted Arvind Kejriwal for being an “outsider”. Apart from drug menace, sacrilege of holy books of Sikhs and SYL canal issues were among the major issues flagged by political rivals in Punjab.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi campaigned in the pockets ruled by Badal clan, including Lambi, Majitha and Jalalabad, to target alleged corruption and drug menace. Other political outfits in the fray include BSP, Apna Punjab Party, CPI and CPI (M) and SAD-Amritsar.

In Goa, the outcome for political parties can only be decided by the turnout of the voters. The state has 40 assembly seats where polling will kickstart today and there are 250 candidates who are contesting for these seats. Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar is contesting Mandrem Constituency in North Goa. Aam Aadmi Party has fielded its Chief Ministerial Candidate Elvis Gomes to contest Cuncolim constituency in south Goa. The elections in the state have turned interesting with the entry of sacked ex RSS state Chief Subhash Velingkar who floated his political outfit, Goa Suraksha Manch. He has forged an alliance with Shiv Sena and Maharashtravadi Gomantak Mandal to take on Bharatiya Janta Party.

In Goa, the key parties in the fray are the BJP, AAP, Congress and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party. Apart from BJP, Congress and AAP, a new front has been seen emerging in Goa. A three-party alliance, that includes Shiv Sena, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and Goa Suraksha Manch, has also laid solid groundwork for the polls.

The voting in Goa will be conducted in single phase and the counting for the same will start from March 11, results will be declared on the same day.