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By-polls put BJP on shaky ground

By-polls put BJP on shaky ground

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13 Mar 2019 No comment 58 hits

Parsekar may spoil Sopte’s broth 

 

PANAJI

It would not be a cakewalk for the Bhartiya Janata Party in by-election in the Mandrem constituency as antagonised former chief minister and senior party leader Laxmikant Parsekar has threatened to quit the party and contest the polls if the BJP nominates Dayanand Sopte as its candidate for the by-poll.

Parsekar has said that he would announce his decision once the BJP declares its candidate officially for the Mandrem by-election, which has been necessitated by the resignation of Sopte as Congress MLA in October 2018.

Apart from Parsekar, Jit Arolkar, a young businessman has already begun his campaign and wants to fight the by-poll as an Independent candidate.

The Congress will also field its candidate.

Strong resentment against Sopte is palpable in the constituency as he resigned before completing five-year term, and now is all set to contest the poll on BJP ticket.

It is pertinent to note here that the Mandrem assembly segment has switched allegiance to three political parties – the MGP, the Congress and the BJP.

In 1994, Sangita Parab of the Indian National Congress emerged victorious by defeating the then MGP stalwart Ramakant Khalap. However, in 1999 Khalap won the election by defeating Parab.

Thereafter Parsekar held sway over the assembly segment for three terms.

He also served as the chief minister from November 2014 to March 2017.

In 2002, Parsekar defeated Khalap of the Congress with a margin of 900 votes, and again in 2007 with a margin of over 1700 votes.

In 2012, Parsekar defeated Sopte of the Congress with a margin of over 3,400 votes.

However, he was trounced by Sopte as the Congress candidate with a margin of over 7,000 votes.

 

Testing time for Joshua

 

PANAJI

The uncertainty looms large:  a few people will stick their neck out and say that the Bhartiya Janata Party will be able to retain the Mapusa constituency, which sees the by-poll after party’s senior leader and former deputy chief minister Francis D’Souza passed away.

There are three aspirants for BJP ticket for the Mapusa by-election – Joshua D’Souza, son of Francis D’Souza; former Mapusa municipal council chairperson Sudhir Kandolkar and Rupesh Kamat, a private secretary of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar. Joshua D’Souza and Kandolkar have already begun their campaign hoping that they will be nominated by the party, which has not yet finalised the candidature.

If Joshua D’Souza and Kandolkar are denied ticket then they may chart their own course and contest as Independent or seek ticket from other political parties.

On the other hand, there two aspirants for Congress ticket – Vijay Bhike and Gurudas Natekar.

Bhike has already begun his campaign in the constituency.

Vinod alias Balu Fadke of the MGP, who had contested the 2017 assembly elections, has also decided to test his luck for the second time.

Sources say Calangute MLA and Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo and some leaders from the ruling coalition could play a crucial role in the Mapusa by-poll.

Mapusa had been a MGP bastion till 1999. Francis D’Souza won polls on Goa Rajiv Congress ticket in 1999 by defeating the then sitting MLA of the MGP Surendra Shirsat with a margin of over 1,500 votes.

Later in 2000, Francis D’Souza joined the BJP and continued to be party’s MLA till he passed away in February 2019.

Francis D’Souza had a loyal vote bank for a long time.  Now, it will be interesting to see whether voters accept his son or go for some other face.

 

All is not well for Subhash

 

PANAJI

MGP president Pandurang ‘Deepak’ Dhavalikar has vowed to steal a march on Subhash Shirodkar, who is set to be nominated as BJP candidate for by-poll to the Shiroda constituency.

Dhavalikar is sending alarming signals to Shirodkar as the former has taken a lead in electioneering, and even PWD Minister and senior MGP leader Ramakrishna ‘Sudin’ Dhavalikar exuded confidence of his brother making a clean sweep of the by-poll.

The MGP is not just fighting the by-poll against its alliance partner, but it is going against coalition dharma.

Shiroda had been a Shirodkar’s pocket borough from 1984 to 2002.  However, for two consecutive elections – that is in 2007 and 2012 – he was defeat by Mahadev Naik of the BJP.

In the 2017 assembly elections, Shirodkar managed to storm back on Congress ticket by defeating Mahadev Naik with a margin of over 4,800 votes. However, former Congressman dumped the party last October and joined the BJP.

But all is not going well for Shirodkar, who has been pained by BJP’s failure to prevent the MGP from contesting the Shiroda by-poll.

Though Shirodkar’s vote share has increased over the years, a strong presence of the MGP in the constituency may dash his hopes for re-election.

On the other hand, the Congress has failed to portray a formidable face, although Mahadev Naik could be nominated as its candidate.

An interesting triangular fight is on the cards in Shiroda.

Source: By-polls put BJP on shaky ground

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