The Times of India
Panaji (Goa)

PANAJI: Goa's electorate swamped the polling booths for the Opinion Poll to determine Goa's separate identity in 1967. The second highest voter surge on Saturday may have been surely triggered by their determination to shape the country's future.

The state assembly elections derive a more enthusiastic response from the voters, but Lok Sabha polls have not been a priority for the electorate, sources said. The voting percentage in Parliamentary polls crossed 70+ only once in 1984 (71.86%) and 65+ only thrice in 1980 (69.48%), 1967 (68.37%) and 1998 (66.16%).

"They have come out in large numbers, as the problems affecting the country are really close to their hearts," Bhaskar Assoldekar, association for democratic reforms (ADR) Goa said.

The Opinion Poll registered a whopping 81.77%, as 1,72,191 voters (54.20%) chose a separate entity for Goa and 1,38,170 (43.50%) cast their franchise for merger with Maharashtra. "It (Opinion Poll) was something extraordinary and the voters were determined to secure their future. Saturday's voting shows people believe Parliamentary election is directly connected with them, contrary to past attitudes," Assoldekar said.

The press and electronic media contributed to the higher voter turnout and a continuous stream of information threw light on a host of political issues.

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