Panaji: Elections to the 40-member Legislative Assembly in Goa would be held on Saturday, where 10.25 lakh voters will decide the fate of 215 candidates, including nine women and 74 independents in the fray.
    
The coastal state is the first in the country to adopt Poll Monitoring System in the assembly elections. Under the system, photographs and fingerprints of all voters will be captured on computers.
    
The voting will begin from 7 AM and would be held at 1612 polling booths with 10,644 poll personnel on duty.
    
Joint Chief Electoral Officer Narayan Navti said all measures have been taken to ensure free and fair elections in the state.
    
He said a total of 3526 local policemen along with companies of para military forces have been deployed to prevent any untoward situation.
     
The list of sensitive and hyper sensitive constituencies have already been drawn up. The areas of St Cruz and Chimbel, adjoining Panaji city have been declared as troubled, where police presence is thick.
    
The Election Commission has also identified 180 critical and vulnerable polling booths in the state, which will be kept under special supervision of micro observers.
    
While the straight fight is set to be between the Congress-NCP and the BJP-MGP, the introduction of Trinamool might spring political surprises in many constituencies.
    
The 2012 election might come out with some surprising verdicts as the Congress is facing internal rift. While several senior leaders from Congress party are upset over ticket distribution and are contesting as independents, BJP in alliance with MGP might gain.
   
Leader of opposition Manohar Parrikar is seeking re-election from Panaji constituency and Chief Minister Digamber Kamat from Margao.

The political strength of former Congress Chief Minister Pratapsingh Rane and his son Vishwajit Rane would also be tested when elections would be held in their stronghold of Poriem and Valpoi.
    
The fate of controversial Churchill Alemao family, which has been awarded four seats by Congress-NCP alliance, will be also tested from constituencies of Navelim, Cuncolim, Benaulim and Sanguem.
     
The controversial sitting MLAs from neighbouring St Cruz constituency is also facing a tough battle with independent Rudolf Fernandes and MGP's Dinar Tarcar. His wife Jennifer is contesting from Taleigao constituency.
    
Former Tourism minister and Supremo of Goa Vikas Party Micky Pacheco, is also eyeing a win in Nuvem, a hometown of sitting MLA and Congress candidate Alexio Sequiera.
    
The campaigning for the polls ended at 5 PM on Thursday after series of public meetings by political parties.    

The Congress had public meetings of UPA President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the state while the BJP had a majority of its national leaders including party President Nitin Gadkari addressing meetings in the state.

(Agencies)