Ahead of Goa polls, high sales of two-wheelers noted


Panaji : In the run-up to the June 2 Goa assembly elections, the Election Commission has directed the local authorities to keep watch on the distribution of goods like motor cycles, two-wheelers and TV sets by candidates after noting an abnormally high sale of such goods in the state recently.

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In an official statement here, Goa's election authority spokesperson noted that the local director of transport has "reported an abnormally high sale of motor-cycles and two wheelers in the last one week".

Some 700 new two-wheelers were registered in a week, in a state whose population is just 1.4 million.

"Taking cognizance of this abnormally high sale during the election time, Election Commission of India has directed the Chief Electoral officer to file an FIR with Police Department Under Section 171-B of IPC for the offences of bribing the voters," the commission's local spokesperson John Aguiar told IANS.

On Tuesday, Goa Governor S.C. Jamir had issued a notification to hold polls for the 40 assembly constituencies out of which one is reserved for the Scheduled Castes. The last date for filing nominations is May 15.

Scrutiny of nominations would be done May 16 and the last day for withdrawal of candidatures is May 18. In all 996,000 voters are likely to exercise their right to franchise for the June 2 polls.

In a separate development, the issue of voters going 'missing' from the electoral rolls in Goa has snowballed into a growing concern, with a number of residents finding themselves off the rolls.

This has become a major concern here in recent elections, with entire families going off the rolls in some cases.

This trend could be of significance in the small state where constituencies are of barely 20,000-30,000 strong, and candidates win by a few hundred votes.

The issue came to a boil recently when a few dozen candidates were found removed from the rolls in state capital Panaji, the constituency of opposition leader and Bharatiya Janata Party supremo Manohar Parrikar, allegedly using forged application forms.

"It's so easy to get someone knocked off the rolls, but so tough to get back on," a Panaji-based doctor told IANS, after finding her name and those of her family off the rolls.

Electronic voting machines would be used for the elections in the 1,066 polling stations.