After weeks of deliberation, Goa BJP has confirmed that Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar will contest the by-election from Panaji. Parrikar had in March this year resigned as Defence minister to take over as chief minister of Goa. The announcement was made by Goa BJP president Vinay Tendulkar.
As Parrikar was a Member of Rajya Sabha and not an MLA, he has to contest an election within six months of taking over as chief minister. Panaji is currently represented by his close aide Siddharth Kuncalienkar, who had, in 2014, contested the bye-election after Parrikar resigned to join the Union cabinet. Kuncalienkar resigned as MLA today.
Speaking to The Indian Express, AICC Secretary Girish Chodankar confirmed that the Congress Party will field a candidate against Parrikar. “This time there will be a candidate on the Congress ticket. We haven’t yet decided who it will be and we should expect to announce a name within a week.” Chodankar also said that the party will contest against its former MLA Vishwajeet Rane in Valpoi.
The Aam Aadmi Party, too, confirmed that it will field a candidate against Parrikar and a name would be announced shortly.
Parrikar has represented the Panaji seat for five terms beginning 1994. In the recently concluded election, BJP’s Kuncalienkar faced a tough fight by United Goans Party’s Antanasio (Babush) Monserrate. Kuncalienkar won by 1069 votes. Kuncalienkar won 7924 votes while Babush got 6855 votes. It is yet to be seen who will contest against Parrikar in the upcoming election.
Along with Parrikar, former Congress MLA Vishwajeet Rane will also be contesting from Valpoi. He resigned from the Congress Party as well as an MLA after the Congress failed to form government despite emerging as the single largest party. Rane won 13493 while his closest competitor Satyavijay Naik of the BJP won 7815 votes. Rane has now since joined the BJP and is a minister in the Parrikar government.