PONDA & SANKHALI: Voters in Ponda and Sankhali on Friday exercised their franchise in the Municipal Polls as per the available data; the polling in Sankhali was 65.24% from 8 am to 2 pm while the turnout in Ponda was 53.49%.
A total of 74 candidates contested the Ponda and Sankhali municipal council elections. Of these, 43 candidates contested for the Ponda Municipal Council and 31 for Sankhali Municipal Council.
“There are 43 candidates in the fray for the Ponda Municipal Council, while two candidates have been elected unopposed. There are 31 candidates for Ponda Municipal Council. Here too, two candidates have been elected unopposed,” the official added.
The battle had become a matter of prestige as both CM Pramod Sawant and Ravi Naik had their political stature and electoral muscle bruised a bit owing to their close finishes at the 2022 assembly elections.
Youth, as well as senior citizens, exercised their rights by voting in both Ponda and Sankhali Municipal Polls.
Municipal polls are not held on party lines in the state; however, the parties field ‘panels’ of candidates and later claim victory depending on the winning candidates.
The Sanquelim Municipal Council is currently controlled by a panel backed by the opposition Congress.
Ponda, on the other hand, is a municipality where the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its alliance partner, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, are local rivals and are likely to field separate panels for the polls.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) claimed three of these four elected unopposed were affiliated to it.
It would therefore be imperative for the Sawant-Naik duo to grab control of their respective civic bodies and restore their political footing when the counting of votes is taken up and the results declared on May 7.
The terms of both municipalities end on May 20. The counting of votes will take place on May 7. \Total of 14,271 voters are eligible to vote in Ponda, and another 6932 will exercise their right in Sankhali.
The COVID-19 patients were entitled to vote in the last hour of the poll, that is, from 4.00 pm to 5.00 pm. The voting will take place through a ballot.
Though the elections are fought on non-party lines, all the political parties, including the ruling BJP, have fielded their candidates.
Two BJP-backed candidates from Ponda and one from Sankhali are already elected unopposed. From Ponda, BJP-backed candidates Vishwanath Dalvi and Vidya Punalekar were elected unopposed from Ward 7 and Ward 13, respectively.
From Sankhali, former sarpanch of erstwhile Sankhali-Harvalem panchayat Pravin Blagaan (ward V) and Riyas Shaikh (ward VIII) were declared elected unopposed.