Voting began this morning in Goa to elect a new 40-member Assembly amid tight security. The polling started at 7 am.
A total of 102,500 voters, spread over two districts - North Goa and South Goa - are will exercise their franchise at 1,612 polling booths, which will be manned by 10,644 security personnel, officials said.
The fate of 215 candidates, including nine women and 74 independents would be decided. Two major alliances - ruling Congress-NCP alliance and Opposition BJP-MGP combination - are the main contenders for power in the tiny coastal state.
For the first time in Goa, the Election Commission (EC) has introduced a monitoring system wherein photographs and fingerprints of all voters will be captured on computers.
The EC has identified 180 polling booths as sensitive where additional forces will be deployed.
In the 2007 Assembly polls, Congress had won 16 seats and formed the Government with the help of NCP (3), Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (2) and some Independents.
BJP had won 14 seats.
This time, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), Goa's oldest regional outfit, has withdrawn from the Congress-led alliance and joined hands with Opposition BJP.
State-owned oil companies today hiked jet fuel price by about 3%, the third time they have increased rates this month.
Efforts are being made to increase retail participation in the OFS from the present 10%: Finance Ministry