Parties set for Goa bypoll

first_imgWith polling for the Lok Sabha constituencies and three State Assembly seats over on Tuesday, the Goa BJP is gearing up for the election to the Panaji Assembly seat May 19. The seat was left vacant by late chief minister Manohar Parrikar, who died on March 17.Parrikar’s son Utpal has expressed his readiness to further his father’s “legacy” and is the front-runner on the BJP’s list. In the meantime, the Congress on Wednesday announced its candidate for the Panaji bypoll, former State education minister Atanasio Monserrate who has been in and out of the BJP, Congress and other regional outfits in the past, and recently rejoined the Congress.“Congress president Rahul Gandhi has approved the candidature of Atanasio Monserrate for the ensuing by-election to the legislative assembly of Goa,” All India Congress Committee General Secretary Mukul Wasnik said in a statement.Last year, Mr. Monserrate was charged with raping a minor girl. He has been booked in the past for extortion and also has a police case for a mob attack on a police station while he was Member of the Legislative Assembly.Sacked for six years by the Congress for anti-party activities in 2015, he was also a minister in Parrikar’s cabinet in early 2000 and later in the Congress-led coalition governments led by Pratapsingh Rane and Digambar Kamat. The process for selection of a candidate for the Panaji by-poll is on, said a BJP source. “We have a process in place for the selection of a candidate. Now that the elections are over, we are starting it,” Goa BJP president Vinay Tendulkar said.Parrikar was first elected to the Panaji seat in 1994 and retained it till 2014, when he was elevated as Union Defence Minister in the Narendra Modi-led Cabinet. On his return to State politics in 2017, Parrikar won a by-election in Panaji and continued as chief minister till his death on March 17. After his death, his sons Utpal and Abhijat, in a public message, said they would like to further their father’s legacy towards the State and the nation.Siddarth Kuncolienkar, a former Parrikar aide who won the seat twice during Parrikar’s absence in Goa [first in the by-election after Parrikar’s resignation as chief minister and second, during the 2017 State Assembly elections only to vacate it when Mr. Parrikar returned as Chief Minister] is the only other contestant in the race.In a recent media interaction, Mr. Utpal Parrikar said he was willing to take on any responsibility the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) offered him. Utpal had campaigned extensively for the BJP’s North Goa MP and Union Minister of State for AYUSH Shirpad Naik in the Lok Sabha election and for the party’s Mapusa by-election, which was held in Goa on April 23.Apart from the BJP and Congress, The Aam Admi Party and a regional outfit headed by former Goa RSS chief Subhash Velingkar are also contesting Panaji by-poll.last_img

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