Panaji, May 9 (IANS): After facing criticism over declaring a 'paid holiday' for the residents of Karnataka working in the coastal state so that they can cast their vote in the May 10 Assembly election, the Goa government on Tuesday clarified that the decision was taken as per Section 135-B of the Representation of People's Act, 1951.
"Goa government has declared a 'paid holiday' as per Section 135-B of the Representation of People's Act, 1951. It states that every person employed in any business trade, industrial undertaking, or any other establishment and entitled to vote for election to the House of the People or the state Assembly of a state will on the polling day be granted a holiday," the Department of Information and Publicity said in the press statement.
"Karnataka being the neighbouring state has sizeable voters in Goa, a request was received from the Office of Chief Electoral Officer, Karnataka, necessitating the declaring of the 'paid holiday' on the polling day and thus was considered favourably," it added.
"It may be informed that during the general election to the Goa Assembly recently, the governments of Maharashtra and Karnataka too had issued similar notifications to facilitate the voters of the respective states exercise their votes in accordance with the Representation of People's Act, 1951," it said.
On Monday, the opposition parties in Goa criticised the state government and sought to roll back the announcement.
Goa AAP Vice-President, Ramrao Wagh said that the BJP government is more concerned about Karnataka than the people of the state.
"People of Karnataka have decided to send home the corrupt BJP government, which is known as '40 per cent' government, and hence the BJP is trying to unleash all its strategies to win the election. They may also do bogus voting by taking people from here," Wagh alleged.
"We are condemning the act of announcing a paid holiday for the Karnataka election and demand to rollback the decision, else it will be clear that the BJP government has compromised the Mhadei diversion," he said.
Revolutionary Goans Party President Manoj Parab said that all the Ministers of the BJP government and their leaders from Goa are busy campaigning for their Karnataka counterpart.
"The Goa government has declared a paid holiday to Karnataka voters working in the private sector and other areas. I have never heard other states opting for similar practices when Goa goes to polls," he added.