CHANDIGARH/PANAJI, Feb 4 - Punjab and Goa today voted heavily with an estimated 70 per cent and a record-breaking 83 per cent turnout as the first round of Assembly elections in five States concluded by and large peacefully, the Election Commission said.
Traditional rivals BJP and Congress are locked in a keen electoral battle in the two States, where Arvind Kejriwal�s AAP has made its maiden foray in the Assembly elections, seeking to play a killjoy for the two major contenders for power.
It is the first outing for Aam Aadmi Party in Assembly elections outside Delhi where it rules with an overwhelming majority in the State Assembly and all eyes will be on it to see if it can upset the applicart of the two major national parties.
The BJP is in government in Punjab in alliance with Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) for two successive terms, while it also helms Goa, despite ally Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party having drifted away just after the announcement of elections to form a three-party combine.
The elections to Punjab and Goa, which will be followed by those in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Manipur, beginning later this month and spilling over to March, are being billed as a major test of BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi�s popularity post-demonetisation. � PTI