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Postal ballots to make or break candidates’ fate

Panaji: With the possibility of candidates winning by narrow margins this assembly election, the fate of many may depend on the 17,500-odd police personnel and government servants who are yet to cast their postal ballots.Sources say politicians have already begun meeting the electorate and seeking their vote.More than 800 postal ballots have been issued in each of the assembly constituencies of Pernem, Poriem, Madkai and Canacona.Government servants and police personnel deployed on election duty on February 4 have until early morning of March 11, counting day, to send in their postal ballots.
In the constituency of Mandrem, the 750-odd postal ballots could be a deciding factor in the fight between the current chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar and Congress candidate Dayanant Sopte.The 650-odd postal ballots in Priol too could decide the fate of MGP’s Deepak Dhavalikar and his rival, BJP-backed independent candidate Govind Gaude. More than 600 postal ballots have also been issued in the constituency of Valpoi.
In Bicholim, Ponda, Shiroda, Quepem, Curchorem and Sanvordem, over 500 postal ballots are awaited from each.The postal ballots could decide the fate of MGP candidate Naresh Sawal and his political opponent BJP’s Rajesh Patnekar in Bicholim too. A winner emerging from the triangular fight between MGP’s Lavoo Mamledar, Congress’ Ravi Naik and BJP’s Sunil Desai in Ponda, could also depend on postal votes.
In the neighbouring taluka of Shiroda, which is also witnessing a three-pronged fight between BJP’s Mahadev Naik, Congress’ Subhash Shirodkar and MGP’s Ramchandra Prabhu, the 500-odd votes could decide their fate.
The postal ballots may also play a significant role in the contest between Congress candidate Babu Kavlekar and BJP candididate Prakash Velip in Quepem and between BJP’s Nilesh Cabral and Goa Suraksha Manch’s Shyam Satardekar in Curchorem.Less than 200 postal ballots each have been issued in the constituencies of Benaulim and Calangute and between 200-300 each in the constituencies of Mapusa, Saligao, St Andre, Cortalim, Nuvem, Curtorim, Navelim and Velim.At the 2012 state assembly election, 12,224 postal ballots were cast. A total of 1,224 postal ballots were rejected, of which 50 were rejected in Pernem alone. [TOI]

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