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Goa

Parrikar cremated with full military, state honours

The last rites of Goa Chief Minister and former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who died on Sunday after suffering from pancreatic cancer for over a year, were held with full military and state honours at the Miramar beach here on Monday evening.
Manohar Parrikar
Manohar Parrikar
The last rites of Goa Chief Minister and former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who died on Sunday after suffering from pancreatic cancer for over a year, were held with full military and state honours at the Miramar beach here on Monday evening.
 
Thousands of supporters and BJP workers accompanied the funeral cortege from the Kala Academy Arts and Cultural Centre, where the remains had been kept throughout the day for the public to pay last respects to the nearby Miramar beach.
 
The mortal remains of Parrikar, wrapped in the national tri-colour, were placed on a pyre amid a 21 gun salute at the beach and his elder son Utpal Parrikar consigned it to flames.
 
Parrikar, 63, is survived by two sons, two daughters in-law and a grandson.
 
Top BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah, Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Irani, Suresh Prabhu and Ramdas Athawale offered floral tributes to Parrikar.
 
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also paid his last respects.
 
Parrikar was Chief Minister of Goa on four separate occasions, but could not complete a single term in office. He served as Defence Minister in the Narendra Modi cabinet from 2014-17 before returning to state politics.
 
IANS
 

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Goa CM Manohar Parrikar passes away after long battle with cancer

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar passed away at his private residence in Panaji on Sunday evening after a prolonged battle with pancreatic cancer.
Manohar Parrikar
Manohar Parrikar
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar passed away at his private residence here on Sunday evening after a prolonged battle with pancreatic cancer. 
 
He was 63.
 
The condition of Parrikar, diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer in February last year and in and out of hospitals in Goa, Mumbai, Delhi and New York since then, had turned "extremely critical" on Sunday, the Chief Minister's Office tweeted earlier in the day.
 
President Ram Nath Kovind expressed his grief.
 
"Extremely sorry to hear of the passing of Shri Manohar Parrikar, Chief Minister of Goa, after an illness borne with fortitude and dignity. An epitome of integrity and dedication in public life, his service to the people of Goa and of India will not be forgotten," he said in a tweet.
 
Other leaders, cutting across party lines, mourned his death.
 
"Shri Manohar Parrikar is no more. A sincere, honest & sensitive political activist. Was simple and down to earth, I learnt a lot from Shri.Parrikar. As Raksha Mantri his contribution to making the armed forces a modernised, lean & mean fighting machine will remain unparalleled, tweeted Defence Minister Nirmala Sithraman.
 
"Extremely saddened by the untimely demise of my good friend Manohar Parrikar ji. An epitome of impeccable integrity, a down to earth personality, the first IITian to become CM of a state, great son of India gone too soon... RIP my dear friend...," Union Minister Suresh Prabhu said in a tweet.
 
"I am deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Goa CM, Shri Manohar Parrikar Ji, who bravely battled a debilitating illness for over a year. Respected and admired across party lines, he was one of Goa's favourite sons. My condolences to his family in this time of grief," tweeted Congress President Rahul Gandhi.
 
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi tweeted, "My condolences to the bereaved family of Shri. Manohar Parrikar. I met him only once, when he graciously visited my mother at the hospital two years ago. May his soul rest in peace."
 
The first Bharatiya Janata Party leader to be Goa Chief Minister, Parrikar headed the state from 2000-05 and 2012-14, before joining the Narendra Modi government as Defence Minister from 2014.
 
The country's first Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) alumnus to serve as Chief Minister of a state, he assumed the mantle on four occasions from 2000, but could not complete a single full term in office.
 
He returned to state politics in 2017 to lead a coalition government headed by the BJP and continued in office despite his protracted illness and amid criticism from the Opposition and civil society, which had repeatedly demanded his resignation on health grounds.
 
A widower, Parrikar is survived by his two sons, Utpal and Abhijat, their wives and a grandson.
 
IANS
 

Parrikar quits as Defence Minister, to be sworn in as Goa CM on Tuesday

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Manohar Parrikar on Monday resigned as the Defence Minister and will be sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Goa on Tuesday at the head of a BJP-led coalition government that will be formed by the party with the support of regional outfits and independent legislators.
Manohar Parrikar
Manohar Parrikar
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Manohar Parrikar today resigned as the Defence Minister and will be sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Goa tomorrow at the head of a BJP-led coalition government that will be formed by the party with the support of regional outfits and independent legislators.
 
"The President of India, as advised by the Prime Minister, has accepted the resignation of Shri Manohar Parrikar, from the Council of Ministers, with immediate effect, under clause (2) of Article 75 of the Constitution," a press communique from Rashtrapati Bhavan said.
 
Further, as advised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Pranab Mukherjee has also assigned the charge of the Ministry of Defence to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in addition to his existing portfolios, the communique added.
 
Mr. Jaitley held the Defence portfolio as an additional charge in the initial months after the Narendra Modi government assumed office at the Centre in May 2014. He relinquished the charge in November 2014 when Mr. Parrikar, who was Chief Minister of Goa, was shifted to the Centre as the Defence Minister.
 
The Congress had emerged as the single largest party in the elections to the Goa Legislative Assembly, polling for which was held on February 4 and votes counted on March 11, with 17 seats in the 40-member house. 
 
The ruling BJP ended up with 13 seats, with Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and many of his Cabinet colleagues losing their seats. However, the BJP has managed to get support from two regional outfits -- the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and Goa Forward Party -- which won three seats each as well as two of the three independents. 
 
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The 13 BJP MLAs and the other eight legislators met Governor Mridula Sinha yesterday evening and she later invited Mr. Parrikar to form the new government.  
 
Mr. Parrikar will have to be elected to the State Assembly within six months in keeping with the Constitutional requirements. He is currently a member of the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of Parliament, from Uttar Pradesh.
 
For Mr. Parrikar, 61, this will be his third time as Chief Minister of Goa, having first served in that position from October 2000 to February 2005 and then from March 9, 2012 till Novemer 9, 2014. He had also served as Leader of the Opposition in the Goa Legislative Assembly from June 1999 to November 1999 and from June 2005 to March 2012. In all, he was elected six times to the Goa Assembly since 1994. 
 
He has a B.Tech. in Metallurgy from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai and was the first IIT alumnus to serve as the Chief Minister of a state.
 
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Assembly elections: Counting of votes to be taken up on Saturday

Counting of votes will begin on Saturday morning in the crucial elections to the State Legislative Assemblies of five States -- Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa -- and most of the results are expected to be out within a few hours after that.
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Counting of votes will begin tomorrow morning in the crucial elections to the State Legislative Assemblies of five States -- Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa -- and the keenly-awaited results are expected to have far-reaching implications for national politics.
 
The elections in five States have taken place mid-way through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and just weeks after the sudden decision of the government on November 8 to demonetise Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 banknotes.
 
Polling in Uttar Pradesh -- India's most populous state -- was held in seven phases between February 11 and March 8, while Manipur had polling in two phases on March 4 and 8. Punjab and Goa had single-phase polling on February 4 and Uttarakhand had single-phase voting on February 15.
 
The terms of the Goa, Manipur and Punjab assemblies are due to normally expire on March 18, Uttarakhand on March 26 and Uttar Pradesh on May 27.
 
The Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly has 403 seats, including 84 reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC) and two for Scheduled Tribes. Punjab Assembly has 117 seats (34 SC), Goa 40 (1 SC), Uttarakhand 70 (13 SC, 2 ST) and Manipur 60 (1 SC, 19 ST).
 
The Election Commission will give out counting trends and results of the elections through its website from 8 am tomorrow.
 
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Among other things, the website will give details such as the number of votes secured by the candidates round-wise and constituency-wise and political party-wise and candidate-wise trends.
 
The website can also be accessed through the main website of the Election Commission of India.
 
For the first time, the Commission will also provide analytics through interactive dashboard in the form of clickable infographics. Users can download data, crosstab, PDF and images for analysing the elections further at their end. It will include comparative analytics between 2012 and 2017. 
 
An official press release said users will get constituency analysis with respect to participation of electors (constituencies with more female electors, constituencies by slabs of voter turnout, turnout by poll days) and candidates (gender wise participants, winners and major competitors). To assess performance of political parties, analysis on seats won by them, the percentage vote-share in the State and the profile (age and social category)of candidates fielded by them have been included. Candidates have been mapped to their constituencies and the votes polled in their favour, it said.
 
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Punjab, Goa go to the polls to elect new legislative assemblies

Punjab and Goa went to the polls on Saturday to elect new state legislative assemblies -- the first two of five states holding crucial elections midway through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and two months after the November 8 demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 bank notes.
 
Voters queue to cast their votes amidst tight security
Punjab and Goa went to the polls today to elect new state legislative assemblies -- the first two of five states holding crucial elections midway through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and two months after the November 8 demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 bank notes.
 
Voters began queueing outside polling stations in both states from early morning and their numbers were steadily increasing as the day progressed. 
 
Voting, which began at 7 am in Goa and at 8 am in Punjab, will end at 5 pm in both states.
 
Polling also took place today for the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat, which fell vacant after the resignation of Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh.
 
The Punjab Assembly has 117 seats and the Goa Assembly 40 seats and both states have single-phase polling today.
 
Uttarakhand will have single-phase polling on February 15, Manipur will have polling in two phases on March 4 and 8 and Uttar Pradesh, the country's most populous state, will have polling in seven phases between February 11 and March 8.
 
Counting of votes in all the five states will be taken up on March 11 and all the results are expected by late evening that day.
 
The terms of the Goa and Punjab assemblies are due to expire on March 18.
 
The Election Commission has made elaborate arrangements for smooth, free and fair elections in both the states.
 
Punjab has a total of 19879069 voters, including 10503108 males and  9375546 females. There are 1145 candidates in the fray, including 81 women and one of the third gender. The Election Commission has set up 22,615 polling stations across the state.
 
In Goa, there are a total of  1110884 electors, including 546742 men and 564142 women. A total of 251 candidates, including 19 women, are in the fray.  The Commission has set up 1642 polling stations across the state.
 
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is making a determined effort for another term in office in Goa, while the Congress is hoping to come back to power in Goa. The three-party alliance forged by Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Goa Suraksha Manch and Shiv Sena is the other major player in the state.
 
Similarly in Punjab, the Congress is trying to wrest power back from the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP combine, which has been in office for a decade.
 
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The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the ruling party in the National Capital Territory of Delhi, has gone all out to emerge as the alternative to the established players in both the states.
 
In Punjab, SAD leader and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, 89, is seeking re-election for the sixth time. He will face Capt. Amarinder Singh, the chief ministerial candidate of the Congress, in the Lambi constituency. The Congress leader is also contesting the elections from his traditional seat of Patiala, where his opponent is former Army chief Gen J J Singh, a candidate of the SAD.
 
The Chief Minister's son Sukhbir Singh will face AAP's Bhagwant Mann, MP, who is his party's likely chief ministerial candidate, in Jalalabad.
 
Former Indian Test cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu, who joined the Congress weeks ahead of the polls, is contesting from Amritsar East, a part of the Amrtisar Lok Sabha constituency that he represented in Parliament as a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for two terms.
 
Prominent candidates in Goa include Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar (BJP) and five former Chief Ministers -- Ravi Naik, Digambar Kamat, Pratapsinh Rane and Luizinho Faleiro (Congress) and Churchill Alemao (NCP). There have been indications that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar might return to Goa as Chief Minister if the BJP retains power.
 
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Stray dogs force Air India to abort landing in Goa

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An Air India passenger aircraft flying in from Mumbai was forced to abort landing at the last minute because of stray dogs trespassing into the runway at the Dabolim International Airport in Goa early on Tuesday, a statement issued by the Indian Navy said.
 
According to the statement, the dogs were not sighted by the Air Traffic Control staff because it was pitch dark.
 
"AI 033 from Mumbai, while landing in Dabolim at around 3 a.m. on August 13, reported to ATC (about) dogs on runway. The aircraft was recovered safely in second approach. Being night hours, no dogs were sighted by the ATC and the runway controller," the statement said.
 
The Dabolim International Airport is the state's only airport and is operating out of the Indian naval base INS Hansa located near the port town of Vasco in South Goa.
 
The statement issued by the Indian Navy also said that "proactive efforts" were being undertaken to reduce the stray dog menace near the airport's runway.
 
"INS Hansa has taken proactive measures to reduce dog menace on runways with the employment of manpower during daylight hours adjacent to the runway to chase away dogs and birds. Additionally, an  MoU has been signed with the state government under which they are to sterilise and relocate up to 200 dogs from the vicinity of the runway," the statement added.
 
IANS
 

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Four new ministers inducted in Goa cabinet

Three Congress rebels -- Chandrakant Kavlekar, Jennifer Monserrate and Filipe Nery Rodrigues -- along with former Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo were sworn in as ministers during a formal ceremony at Raj Bhavan here on Saturday.
Goa Governor Mridula Sinha and Chief Minister Pramod Sawant with the newly sworn-in Cabinet Ministers - Congress rebels Chandrakant Kavlekar, Jennifer Monserrate, Filipe Nery Rodrigues and BJP MLA Michael Lobo, who resigned as Deputy Speaker of the Goa Legislative Assembly earlier in the day; at Raj Bhavan in Panaji on July 13, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Goa Governor Mridula Sinha and Chief Minister Pramod Sawant with the newly sworn-in Cabinet Ministers - Congress rebels Chandrakant Kavlekar, Jennifer Monserrate, Filipe Nery Rodrigues and BJP MLA Michael Lobo, who resigned as Deputy Speaker of the Goa Legislative Assembly earlier in the day; at Raj Bhavan in Panaji on July 13, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Three Congress rebels -- Chandrakant Kavlekar, Jennifer Monserrate and Filipe Nery Rodrigues -- along with former Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo were sworn in as ministers during a formal ceremony at Raj Bhavan here on Saturday.
 
The Congress rebels had joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday. Kavlekar, a former leader of opposition, is tipped to be the deputy Chief Minister.
 
The swearing-in ceremony followed sacking of four non-BJP ministers by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant after a day-long stand-off. During the stand-off, Vijai Sardesai, Vinod Palienkar, Jayesh Salgaocar -- all ministers from Goa Forward Party -- and Rohan Khaunte (Independent) refused to resign as per the Chief Minister's request. 
 
Only one non-BJP minister Govind Gaude survived the cull on Saturday.
 
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the swearing-in ceremony, state BJP president Vinay Tendulkar said it had become a nationwide trend for leaders from other political parties to join the BJP.
 
"Leaders across the country, including Karnataka, are joining the BJP by leaving the Congress. This is a trend," he told reporters.
 
When asked about the disillusionment of the party cadre over induction of 10 Congress MLAs into the BJP on Wednesday, Tendulkar said, "The workers will have to tolerate this and all of us should go ahead together".
 
IANS
 

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Hours before Goa Cabinet reshuffle, CM drops four Ministers

Ending a day-long deadlock, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Saturday dropped four alliance Ministers from his Cabinet, hours before the swearing-in of four new Ministers at the Raj Bhavan here later in the day.
BJP Working President J.P. Nadda welcoming 10 Congress MLAs from Goa into the party at the BJP headquarters, in New Delhi on July 11, 2019. Also seen is Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant. (Photo: IANS)
BJP Working President J.P. Nadda welcoming 10 Congress MLAs from Goa into the party at the BJP headquarters, in New Delhi on July 11, 2019. Also seen is Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant. (Photo: IANS)
Ending a day-long deadlock, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Saturday dropped four alliance Ministers from his Cabinet, hours before the swearing-in of four new Ministers at the Raj Bhavan here later in the day.
 
Sources at the State Secretariat said that the four Ministers -- Deputy Chief Minister Vijai Sardesai, Vinod Palienkar, Jayesh Salgaocar (Goa Forward Party MLAs) and Rohan Khaunte (Independent MLA) -- were dropped from the Cabinet and an intimation had been sent to Raj Bhavan, which is preparing for the swearing-in ceremony.
 
The four had refused to resign as Ministers, despite a request made to them by Sawant on Friday. 
 
While Khaunte has not been available for comment, Sardesai, who is also the president of the Goa Forward Party, had maintained that the issue was being resolved "amicably". 
 
Sardesai on Saturday said that his party has maintained the "promise" given to late Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar that the Goa Forward Party will not destabilise the government.
 
The only non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Minister to survive Saturday's cull is Art and Culture Minister Govind Gaude (Independent).
 
The four sacked ministers are scheduled to address a media briefing at the proposed site for Parrikar's samadhi in Panaji.
 
BJP MLA Michael Lobo, who resigned as Deputy Speaker earlier on Saturday, has confirmed that he will be the only new BJP Minister to be sworn in at Raj Bhavan.
 
"I have been informed by the Chief Minister's Office to resign as deputy Speaker and be present at Raj Bhavan to be sworn in as Minister," Lobo said.
 
Former leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar, who led the Congress MLA rebellion on Wednesday, is tipped to replace Sardesai as the Deputy Chief Minister, while another former Congress MLA Jennifer Monserrate is also likely to be sworn in.
 
IANS
 

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New-look Goa cabinet soon; CM asks four non-BJP ministers to quit

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Goa will soon have a new-look cabinet after the induction of 10 Congress MLAs into the ruling BJP on Wednesday, even as Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Thursday called four non-BJP ministers in the alliance government, and asked them to step down to accommodate some of the new inductees in the cabinet in the forthcoming reshuffle.
 
BJP sources said that now former Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar would also be inducted as a deputy Chief Minister during an oath-taking ceremony at the Raj Bhavan which has been scheduled for 3 pm on Saturday.
 
"I have directed four ministers, three from the Goa Forward and one Independent Minister to resign as ministers as directed by the party leadership," Sawant told reporters.
 
The four ministers who have been directed to resign are deputy Chief Minister Vijai Sardesai, ministers Vinod Palienkar and Jayesh Salgaocar from Goa Forward and Rohan Khaunte who is an Independent MLA. Another Minister Govind Gaude, an Independent MLA, may survive the cull, a BJP leader said on condition of anonymity.
 
Soon after Sawant's statement however, Goa Forward party's official Twitter handle denied any communication from the central BJP leadership and in a defiant message said, that the present crop of state BJP leaders were not part of discussions in 2017, when the BJP-led coalition government was formed under the leadership of late Manohar Parrikar.
 
"As such we will take appropriate steps only after talking with the NDA leadership at the Centre. We have not yet received any official communications from the @BJP4India central leaders. On the contrary, we have received indications that the matter will be sorted amicable," Goa Forward tweeted.
 
Earlier today, deputy Speaker and BJP MLA Michael Lobo had dropped hints that some alliance ministers who were arm-twisting Chief Minister Pramod Sawant would be dropped, in order to accommodate the new inductees.
 
"CM is ready to help, but you cannot just arm-twist him. You cannot put your ego before him or say if you do not do my work I will throw the government. This language will not do," Lobo said.
 
Left with five MLAs in the state assembly, the Congress has called the exit of its 10 MLAs as "betrayal of the people's trust".
 
"The 10 leaders who have quit the party have not just betrayed the Congress, but the people of Goa. They will be punished by the people. The Congress will field fresh faces in the constituencies from where our elected representatives have now joined the party," Goa Mahila Congress president Pratima Coutinho said.
 
Earlier today, the newly inducted 10 MLAs returned from Delhi after meeting BJP national president and national working president Amit Shah and J.P. Nadda.
 
IANS
 

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10 Congress MLAs from Goa formally join BJP, other allies jittery

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A day after switching to the BJP, a group of 10 rebel Congress MLAs from Goa on Thursday joined the saffron party at the party's headquarters in the national capital in presence of its Working President J. P. Nadda.
 
Earlier, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant along with two of the MLAs met Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President and Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Parliament. 
 
Ten Congress MLAs, led by Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Chandrakant Kavlekar, joined the ruling BJP, increasing its strength to 27 in the 40-seat house.
 
Talking to reporters, Sawant, who reached the capital on Wednesday night with the defected Congress MLAs, said the decision on dropping any minister from the coalition partners in Goa would be taken by senior party leaders and that the announcement regarding that would be made after his arrival back to the state. 
 
Sawant also said that the Congress MLAs had themselves expressed willingness to join the BJP. 
 
The Congress, which emerged as the single largest party after the 2017 Assembly polls in the coastal state, is now reduced to five legislators.
 
The MLAs who joined the BJP along with Kavlekar are Atanasio Monserrate, Jennifer Monserrate, Francis Silveira, Philip Nery Rodrigues, Cleaofacio Dias, Wilfred D'Sa, Nilkant Halarnkar, Isidor Fernandes and Antonio Fernandes.
 
The BJP-led state government currently enjoys the support of three MLAs of the Goa Forward Party and three Independents. Besides, there are five MLAs of the Congress and one each of the NCP and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party in the House.
 
After the 2017 polls, a hung Assembly emerged, with the Congress winning 17 seats and the BJP 13.
 
The switchover is expected to have repercussions on the current composition of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition government in Goa, with the fresh induction of Congress MLAs already making coalition alliance partner Goa Forward jittery.
 
Goa Forward leader and Deputy Chief Minister Vijai Sardesai, who has blown hot and cold against the performance of Sawant as Chief Minister, on Thursday made emotional overtures to the BJP's top and state leadership, pleading that the coalition cobbled together in 2017 under the leadership of then Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar not be tampered with.
 
"Some people came together to form this government. The central figure (Parrikar) is no longer alive. He knew how the government was formed. Some people, including national leadership of the BJP were also there," Sardesai said, adding that Goa Forward's support had not even "budged an inch" during political turmoil in Goa earlier this year, which followed when Parrikar was bedridden with cancer.
 
Sardesai and his two other MLAs, all of whom are ministers, face removal from the cabinet. While the three-member strength of Goa Forward was critical to the survival of the coalition in the past, the fresh infusion of Congress MLAs into the BJP makes their support irrelevant.
 
BJP sources also said that Revenue Minister and Independent MLA Rohan Khaunte could also be dropped from the cabinet along with Art and Culture Minister Govind Gaude, in order to accommodate some Congress rebels into the ministry.
 
"The final decision will be taken by Amit Shah, after discussing the issue with the Chief Minister and the state BJP president," a source said.
 
The Congress meanwhile dispatched its Secretary in-charge of Goa A. Chellakumar to take stock of the situation. Chellakumar who met the remaining five MLAs and state Congress officials said, that the party would file a disqualification petition against the 10 MLAs.
 
Over the last two years, 15 MLAs, including 13 of the Congress, have joined the BJP.
 
However, Wednesday's induction of 10 MLAs has triggered outrage in a section of the BJP, especially senior leaders like former Speaker and state President Rajendra Arlekar. "Most party workers are deeply hurt and we will fight out this wrong trend within the party," Arlekar told reporters. 
 
Feuds between BJP party workers have also spilled over on social media over the inclusion of Congress leaders, especially Panaji MLA Monserrate who has been charged with rape, into the BJP.
 
IANS
 

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Congress walks out of Lok Sabha over Karnataka, Goa

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Congress members on Thursday walked out of the Lok Sabha over the political situation in Karnataka and Goa where many of its MLAs have either quit the House or joined the BJP.
 
The House was plunged into uproar when a Congress request to raise the issue during Zero Hour was not allowed by Speaker Om Birla.
 
The agitated Congress MPs then trooped out of the House. This was the party's third walkout in as many days.
 
The Congress on Thursday raised the Goa issue where 10 of the 15 MLAs have defected to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), reducing the Congress strength to just five members.
 
The Congress has accused the BJP of destabilizing the coalition government of the Congress and the JD-S in Karnataka where as many as 17 MLAs of the two parties have quit the Assembly.
 
IANS
 

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Ten Goa MLAs split from Congress, to merge with BJP

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Ten Congress MLAs out of 15 have split from the party and are going to merge with the BJP later tonight, Congress MLA Isidore Fernandes told reporters on Wednesday.
 
"10 Congress MLAs are splitting from the Congress and joining the BJP tonight," Fernandes said. Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar is the leader of the group which has split from the Congress, Fernandes said.
 
"We are going to meet the Speaker now. Once we step out, we would formally announce what has happened," said Deputy Speaker of the state assembly Michael Lobo, who led the group of rebel Congress MLAs to Speaker Rajesh Patnekar's office in the assembly premises.
 
The 10 Congress MLAs who are part of the rebel group are Chandrakant Kavlekar, Isidore Fernandes, Francis Silveira, Filipe Neri Rodrigues, Jennifer and Atanasio Monserrate, Antonio Fernandes, Nilakanth Halarnkar, Clafacio Dias and Wilfred D'Sa.
 
The development brings down the legislative strength of the Congress to a paltry five MLAs. It includes Digambar Kamat, Luzinho Faleiro, Ravi Naik, Pratapsingh Rane, all of whom have served as Chief Minister, and MLA Aliexo Reginaldo.
 
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10 Goa MLAs split from Congres to merge with BJP

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Ten Congress MLAs out of 15 have split from the Congress and are going to merge with the BJP later tonight, Congress MLA Isidore Fernandes told reporters on Wednesday.
 
"10 Congress MLAs are splitting from the Congress and joining the BJP tonight," Fernandes said.
 
Congress sources said that among the ten MLAs are leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar, MLAs Isidore Fernandes, Jennifer Monserrate, Atanasio Monserrate, Francis Silveira, among others.
 
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Father, son die in Goa road accident

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Locals set a jeep driven by a Maharashtra-based driver on fire after a father and son duo were killed in a head-on collision at the Siolim-Chopdem bridge on Sunday morning.
 
The deceased, who died on the spot, have been identified as Judas Fernandes and his son Joao, both residents of Chopdem village in North Goa, who were heading for Sunday church services.
 
According to police Inspector Navlesh Dessai, the incident occurred after a jeep bearing a Maharashtra registration, driven by one Shekhar Dube from Mumbai, switched lanes and slammed into the oncoming car being driven by Fernandes.
 
"We have conducted a panchanama. Since the accused has also incurred injuries, a formal FIR will be filed soon," the official said.
 
Angry locals, who had gathered at the accident site, set fire to the jeep soon after the collision.
 
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Low pressure area over Arabian Sea likely to intensify into cyclone: IMD

A low-pressure area has formed over southeast and eastcentral Arabian Sea and Lakshadweep Islands and was likely to intensify into a depression and then into a cyclonic storm in the next two days, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said.
 
"It is very likely to intensify into a depression over Southeast & adjoining Eastcentral Arabian Sea during next 48 hours. It is likely to move north-northwestwards and intensify further into a cyclonic storm during subsequent 24 hours," a bulletin issued by IMD yesterday afternoon said.
 
Under its influence, heavy rains are likely over some parts of Kerala, Lakshadweep, coastal Karnataka, south interior Karnataka and Konkan & Goa during this period.
 
The bulletin also said that strong winds, with speed reaching 40-50 kmph, gusting to 60 kmph, were very likely to prevail over southeast and adjoining Lakshadweep and eastcentral Arabian Sea, Kerala and Karnataka coasts today.
 
"Wind speed is very likely to increase gradually and become squally wind speed reaching 55-65 kmph gusting to 75 kmph over eastcentral & adjoining southeast Arabian Sea on 11th June 2019. It is very likely to be 40-50 kmph gusting to 60 kmph over Lakshadweep area, Kerala, Karnataka & south Maharashtra Coasts on the same day. Sea conditions are likely to be rough over the above areas.
 
"Wind speed is very likely to increase further becoming gale wind speed reaching 70-80 kmph gusting to 90 kmph over eastcentral & adjoining northeast Arabian Sea on 12th June 2019 and become 90-100 kmph gusting to 110 kmph over north Arabian Sea on 13th June 2019. It is very likely to be 45-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph over Gujarat & Maharashtra coasts on 12th and 55-65 kmph gusting to 75 kmph over entire Gujarat and north Maharashtra coasts on 13th June, 2019," the bulletin said.
 
Sea conditions are likely to be very rough to high over these areas during this period and fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea.
 
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Goa airport services suspended for 2 hours

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All flight operations at Goa's Dabolim International Airport have been suspended for two hours on Saturday afternoon after a detachable fuel tank attached to a MiG-29K aircraft fell on the runway, spilling fuel and causing minor damage to the landing and take-off strip, an AAI spokesperson said.
 
"Due to jettisoned fuel tank on the runway during MiG sortie the operations are closed for two hours at Goa airport. Pl bear with us," Airport Authority of India (AAI) Goa tweeted on its official Twitter handle on Saturday afternoon. 
 
Airport operations are likely to commence at around 4 p.m.
 
A spokesperson for the airport said that Indian Navy personnel were at the site, cleaning the fuel from the runway and carrying out repairs along the stretch.
 
"These are external fuel tanks outfitted to aircraft in order to enable them to cover more distance. One such tank attached to a MiG-29K got jettisoned off the jet during a sortie and landed on the runway," the spokesperson told IANS.
 
The airport is operated from Indian naval base INS Hansa located in the South Goa district.
 
IANS
 

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Polish girl writes to Modi for her return to India

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After her mother failed to attract the attention of former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, her 11-year-old Polish girl has now written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking their return to India.
 
Alicja Wanatko, in her handwritten letter to Modi and newly appointed External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, has also invoked her love for Lord Shiva, the Nanda Devi mountain and her fond memories of caring of cows during her stay in Goa.
 
"I love my school in Goa, the beautiful nature and I am missing my volunteering in the animal rescue centre there where I was helping to take care of cows. My mum could not re-enter India on 24th March, 2019 after a short trip out and we were told we were blacklisted due to our overstay," Alicja has said in her letter, which was tweeted to Modi and Jaishankar by her mother Marta Kotlarska.
 
Her mother, Marta, an artist and photographer, who was on a multiple entry B-2 business visa to India, was turned away from the Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru, after she returned on March 24, from Sri Lanka, where she had gone to renew her Indian visa.
 
With her daughter studying in Goa, Martha had to wait in Thailand before she was allowed to return to India, pick up her daughter and leave the country within a few days.
 
The mother and daughter are currently in Cambodia, awaiting a possible return to India, where Alicja claims, she is now rooted in Hinduism and spirituality, and in her letter says "despite not being Indian citizens, we call it home".
 
"I am now with my mum, but am missing my old life in my favourite country more than ever. I feel so alone away from everything I have always known in India. I know my animals will be so confused without me and I cannot sleep without feeling angry or upset.
 
"It feels like everything is just destroyed again. I pray to Shiva and Nanda Devi to help us and I have decided to write to you because you are the most powerful person that can help me and my mum come back to India, my home. Please help us and allow to remove us from this blacklist," she added.
 
Her mother had similarly pleaded to Sushma Swaraj in April where she claimed that she was blacklisted by the Foreigners Regional Registration Office in Chamoli in Uttarakhand for overstaying "due to a misunderstanding".
 
IANS
 

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BJP wins 1 LS seat, 3 Assembly bye-elections in Goa

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In what could be described as a mixed bag of results, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Goa won one Lok Sabha seat, but lost the other amid a saffron tsunami in the country on Thursday.
 
However, the BJP won three Assembly bye-elections in the state, while losing the prestigious Panaji Assembly seat, which was held by the ruling party since 1994.
 
Victory in three Assembly seats has now put the BJP-led coalition government in the state on a firm footing, according to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.
 
Union Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik won the North Goa Lok Sabha seat by over 80,247 votes against his nearest Congress rival Girish Chodankar, who polled 1,64,597 votes.
 
Naik, a four-time MP, battled both anti-incumbency as well as a potential backlash from the aggrieved sections of Goa's banned mining belt, but managed to ride the proverbial Modi wave to victory.
 
"The victory exposes the Opposition's negative campaign. The people of North Goa are with Modiji," Naik said.
 
In the South Goa Lok Sabha constituency, sitting BJP MP Narendra Sawaikar conceded defeat even before the final votes could be tallied.
 
While Sawaikar polled 1,91,806 votes, Congress' Francisco Sardinha, a former Chief Minister of Goa, got 2,01,561 votes.
 
"I accept my defeat. I thank everyone for the support and co-operation shown to me throughout my tenure as an MP," Sawaikar said.
 
The BJP performed creditably in the Assembly bye-elections, winning three of the four seats. The significant loss came in the Panaji Assembly seat, which was held by the BJP since 1994, largely represented by the late Manohar Parrikar. 
 
"It is time to put Panaji on the development track after 25 years of inefficiency," said Congress' Atanasio Monserrate after he beat the BJP's Sidharth Kuncalienkar by 1,758 votes.
 
Meanwhile, Chodankar accepted responsibility for Congress' defeat in North Goa and in the three Assembly bye-elections but maintained that by winning the prestigious Panaji Assembly seat, the Congress had "wrested the heart" of Goa from the BJP.
 
"As the state President, I accept moral responsibility for the Congress' losses... But Panaji is the heart of BJP and Goa and the Congress has won it after 25 years. I want to thank the people of Panaji for this," Chodankar said.
 
BJP's Dayanand Sopte, Subhash Shirodkar and Joshua D'Souza won the Assembly bye-elections in Shiroda, Mandrem and Mapusa, respectively, the latter two by relatively narrow margins.
 
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said the three bye-election wins, which took his party's tally to 17 in the 40-member Goa legislative Assembly, would lend further stability to the coalition government in the state.
 
"The government will be more stable now with these wins," Sawant told reporters.
 
According to political analyst and former Independent MLA Radharao Gracias, the BJP-led coalition government is now "mathematically" stable.
 
"To add to the mathematical stability, there is the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre," Gracias said.
 
And signs are that BJP's local allies, such as Goa Forward Party (GFP), which have blown hot and cold against the majority alliance partner in the past, already appear to have fallen in line, especially with the mammoth victory projected for the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah combination.
 
"As partners in the NDA, I congratulate you on your personal victory and your party's win. May this historic win pave the way for even closer partnership between our parties in the state and help take Goa forward," Deputy Chief Minister Vijai Sardesai of the GFP said soon after the counting trends suggested a big win for the NDA.
 
Sawant's government is supported by three MLAs of the GFP and three Independents, which takes its tally to 23 in the 40-member House.
 
IANS
 

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Panaji Assembly bye-election: BJP loses late Parrikar's seat to Congress

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After 25 years of uninterrupted run, the BJP on Thursday failed to retain the Panaji Assembly constituency, largely represented by late Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar since 1994.
 
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Sidharth Kuncalienkar lost to Congress' Atanasio Monserrate by 1,758 votes. Monserrate polled 8,748 votes against Kuncalienkar's 6,990 votes. 
 
AAP's Valmiki Naik and Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM) candidate Subhash Velingkar polled 236 and 516 votes, respectively.
 
"This is a victory of the Congress party and a vote for the development. Panaji has been deprived of development for the past so many years," Monserrate said after the announcement of his victory.
 
The bye-election for the Panaji Assembly constituency was necessitated by the death of its MLA and Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar in March, after a prolonged battle with pancreatic cancer.
 
Parrikar first won the constituency in 1994 and retained it until 2014, when he was elevated as Defence Minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Cabinet. In his absence, the seat was represented twice by his aide Kuncalienkar. On his return to state politics in 2018, Parrikar was once again elected Panaji MLA.
 
The loss is significant for the BJP, which promised to carry forward Parrikar's legacy in Panaji. The saffron party's campaign received a setback after its state leadership snubbed his son Utpal's bid for a ticket for the Panaji bypoll.
 
IANS
 

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After a year's search, tiger spotted in South Goa national park

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In a development which has brought cheer to Goa wildlife authorities, a tiger has been spotted in the state's only national park in South Goa, an official statement said on Saturday.
 
The statement also said that the spotting of the striped cat is a testament to healthy wildlife practices in the Bhagwan Mahaveer National Park which is a popular eco-tourism haunt.
 
"The camera trapping has recorded presence of tigers in Bhagwan Mahaveer National Park for the first time on May 14. The tiger presence in the area indicates that level of protection, quality of wildlife habitat and wildlife management practices in the national park are of high levels," the statement said.
 
The statement said that the forest department staffers were trying to track down the elusive cat for over a year at the park, which is spread over 240 sq kms.
 
This is the second major tiger spotting in Goa. Tiger presence has already been confirmed in the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary in North Goa.
 
Despite the tiger sighting in the forests at Mhadei, the state government has dithered in setting up a tiger reserve in Goa, because the region is ringed by mining leases.
 
Late Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had told the Goa Assembly last year that no "final decision" had been taken on setting up a tiger reserve in the state, even though the National Tiger Conservation Authority had mooted a proposal for constitution of a tiger reserve in Goa and the adjoining Kali Tiger Reserve in Karnataka after the All India Tiger Estimation survey in 2014.
 
IANS
 

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Gokulam Kerala beat Panjim Footballers 2-0 for their fourth straight win

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Gokulam Kerala FC beat Panjim Footballers 2-0 for their fourth straight win while Hans FC defeated Rising Students' Club 2-1 to record their second victory in the Hero Indian Women Football league in Ludhiana on Saturday.
 
India internationals Sanju and Anju Tamang were on target for the Kerala side, but it was their teenage mid fielder Manisha, who stole the show to take the Player of the Match award.
 
It was defence-vs-attack all through as Gokulam took the initiative from early on.  Sanju intercepted a pass from the right and unleashed a drive into the bottom corner.
 
Gokulam picked up where they left off in the second half as Manisha dictated terms from midfield again. She linked with Bawitlung, who played a delicious one-two with Babysena Devi to break free of her marker, but Panjim keeper Ashika Gadekar came off her line and swept the ball off the Mizo forward's feet.
 
However, Manisha created an opening which led to the second goal. She  sold a dummy at the edge of the penalty box, and played a delicate through ball to Anju Tamang, who merely had to beat the keeper, which she did with great aplomb. This win took Gokulam a  step closer to the semi-final spot, as they now have 12 points from four matches – a perfect record in the tournament so far.
 
In another match, Hans  FC  kept their hopes alive as they beat Rising Student Club 2-1. Hans FC’s Nigerian midfielder Rita Casia was the star of the show as she controlled the midfield and also scored an absolute scorcher from long range.
 
Rising Student Club started off the game with the higher tempo, incessantly going on the attack in the early exchanges.
 
However, it was Hans who had the earliest chance, when Jyoti Ann Burrett knuckled a free-kick from long range. Her shot was well-placed, but it was saved by RSC keeper Rani Bhowmick. Krishna Barick had an early opportunity to put RSC in front when she got the ball inside the opposition area, switched to her left foot, but Hans keeper Vanshika Rana thwarted the attack.
 
Hans midfielder Rita Casia put her side in the lead with a powerful shot giving RSC goalkeeper Rani Bhowmick  no chance to block it.
 
Hans doubled their lead soon after, when Anushka Samuel broke free and slipped it past Bhowmick (2-0). Sradhanjali Panda scored in injury time to pull one back, but it was too little, too late for RSC.
 
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Chandigarh man arrested for wife's murder in Goa

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A 28-year-old Chandigarh-based part-time travel agent Sukhvinder Singh has been arrested by the Goa Police for allegedly murdering his wife while on a holiday in North Goa's Arpora village on April 27, a police officer said on Friday.
 
Singh, who is accused of murdering his wife, was nabbed from a hotel in Ludhiana, Punjab, after a manhunt which spanned days and across several cities, Superintendent of Police (Crime Branch) Pankaj Kumar Singh told reporters on Friday.
 
"During interrogation it was revealed that on the fateful day, the couple had a heated argument resulting in a fight after which he slit her throat with a knife," the SP said.
 
Singh and his wife, Alka Saini, 25, from Himachal Pradesh, had checked into a resort in Arpora village located 20 km from Panaji.
 
The woman was found dead with injuries to her neck by hotel maintenance staff on April 27 and Singh was reported missing, following which the Goa Police had filed a murder case at the Anjuna police station.
 
Pankaj Kumar Singh said that police had sent teams to multiple locations including Delhi, Chandigarh, Kapurthala and other places, where the accused was known to have relatives. 
 
Sukhvinder Singh was eventually arrested from a hotel room in Punjab's Ludhiana town, the police officer said.
 
IANS
 

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BJP denies Parrikar's son ticket for Panaji bye-election

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The BJP on Sunday nominated late Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar's aide Sidharth Kuncalienkar as its candidate for the Panaji assembly seat bye-election, ignoring the claim of his son Utpal Parrikar.
 
Kuncalienkar's nomination was approved after much delay by the Bharatiya Janata Party's Central Election Committee on Sunday, according to a statement issued by the committee's secretary J.P. Nadda.
 
Utpal Parrikar had been considered a front-runner for contesting the May 19 bye-election and his name was expected to be announced on Friday, but a public announcement by former Goa RSS chief Subhash Velingkar that he was also entering the contest, resulted in the party opting for Kuncalienkar -- who has been elected Panaji MLA twice -- instead.
 
A senior party official said that with the entry of Velingkar into the fray, the contest for the Panaji seat would be a difficult one, something which the party elders did not wish Utpal to face in his electoral debut.
 
Kuncalienkar, a close aide of Parrikar, was first elected MLA in 2015 soon after Parrikar joined Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet as Defence Minister and resigned from the Panaji seat.
 
In the 2017 assembly election, Kuncalienkar was again elected MLA from Panaji, but had to resign after Parrikar returned to the state as Chief Minister and had to be elected to the state assembly again.
 
Kuncalienkar will face Atanasio Monserrate of the Congress, Valmiki Naik of the Aam Aadmi Party and Velingkar, who is contesting on a Goa Suraksha Manch ticket.
 
IANS
 

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Young woman tourist from Himchal found murdered in Goa hotel room

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A 25-year-old woman tourist from Himachal Pradesh was found murdered in a room at a hotel in North Goa on Saturday, police sources said.
 
The victim was identified as Alka Saini, from Himachal Pradesh who had checked into the hotel in the beach village of Arpora on April 20, along with her boyfriend, who could not be traced now, a police source said.
 
"Her body was found by the hotel's maintenance staff after they entered the room for cleaning on Saturday. We have found stab marks on her neck," the source said, adding that the body has been sent to the Goa Medical College near Panaji for post-mortem examination.
 
While top police officials are tight-lipped and refused to comment, police sources also said that the hotel's CCTV camera showed two persons exiting the room some time before the body was discovered by the hotel staff.
 
"Police parties have been dispatched to look for the duo. We have also alerted police personnel posted at bus stations, railway stations, the Dabolim International Airport and border check points," the source said.
 
A case of murder has been registered at the Anjuna police station.
 
IANS
 

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EVMs replaced at South Goa poll booth after complaint

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All EVMs at a polling station in Cuncolim Assembly constituency in South Goa have been replaced after reports of malfunctioning, Goa Chief Electoral Officer Kunal said on Tuesday.
 
"Entire set of EVMs has been replaced for Assembly constituency 34 (Cuncolim), polling station number 31, as per report from the district election officer South Goa," Kunal said.
 
Earlier in the day, Aam Aadmi Party convenor Elvis Gomes had complained about the malfunctioning electronic voting machines (EVMs) at polling station number 31.
 
Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar also expressed concern about malfunctioning EVMs.
 
"There are similar problems in polling stations in other constituencies in Betul (village)," Kavlekar told reporters, adding that the Congress would be taking up the matter before the Election Commission.
 
IANS
 

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