Goa’s Postal Ballots
Goa over the past few days has witnessed different political parties criticising the Chief Electoral Office (CEO) of Goa over their conduct over the postal ballots. Government servants from Goa, posted on duty on February 4 have yet to cast their vote through postal ballots.
How many votes and why so significant?
According to sources, Goa has around 17, 500 government servants who will have the option of postal ballots. In a small state such as Goa where the winning margins have often been by a few hundred votes; 17, 500 voters may decide the fate of many candidates in constituencies across the state.
Why are some political parties opposing it?
‘The duration that the postal ballots have been allowed for and the methods in which they are being conducted’ forms the main issue of contention for many parties. The parties have suggested the postal ballots need not carry a serial number. According to many parties, having a serial number puts the person having the ballot paper in vulnerable position.
In fact, Girish Chodankar, general secretary of Congress party had mentioned at a conclave held in Panaji on February 23 that they have reason to believe that voters were being intimidated by the ruling party to vote for them. He further alleged that the serial number of ballot voters had been leaked to the ruling party by the CEO.
The parties attending the conclave agreed that it is difficult to gather evidence in this case. An NCP spokesperson even alleged that the CEO’s attitude in dealing with the situation wasn’t very encouraging.
The conclave was attended by parties such as Goa Vikas Party (GVP), Goa Su-Raj Party (GSRP), Indian National Congress (INC), Goa Forward Party (GFP), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Maharashtrawai Gomantak Party (MGP)and Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM) who supported it, although a representative could not attend it.
All the attendees it is said, have brought the matter to the notice of the Election Commission of India (ECI). They demanded a delegation be sent to Goa immediately to resolve the issue.