The RSS-backed Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM) on Wednesday hinted that its Panaji candidate Raju Sukerkar may not contest the elections due to a sudden medical condition. Sukerkar was being seen as a tough opponent to the BJP’s Sidharth Kuncalienker – former chief minister Manohar Parrikar’s close aide – in a seat that has been with the BJP since 1994.
“Raju has been admitted to Lilavati hospital where he underwent some medical tests, a decision on whether he will contest or not will be taken this evening or latest tomorrow,” GSM president Anand Shirodkar told The Indian Express.
However, Lilavati Hospital, Mumbai has clarified that no patient under the name of Raju Sukerkar availed of its services. Ajaykumar Pande, Director of Operations, said: “Such a patient was not brought (to the hospital) in the last two days. Even in our appointments scheduled for coming two days, we do not have his name listed.”
Shirodkar clarified that as of now, Sukerkar was still the candidate. “If we have a tough opponent, we will field him, else the MGP is free to contest from the (Panaji) seat,” he said.
Sukerkar, a close friend of Parrikar, poses a serious threat to BJP’s Sidharth Kuncalienker. The split between the BJP and the RSS took place last year after the BJP refused to give in to the demands of an RSS-backed organisation that it stop funding English medium primary schools and only provide aid to schools that provide education in Marathi and Konkani.
The GSM is in an alliance with the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and the Shiv Sena. The MGP ended its alliance with the ruling BJP hours after the election code of conduct came into force. It’s party MLAs had publicly expressed their disagreements with Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar leading to a public spat.