Election 2019

BJP avoids Parrikar’s son, fields former aide for Panaji bypoll

The BJP has decided against fielding Manohar Parrikar’s elder son Utpal to succeed his father in the Panaji bypoll to be held on May 19.

The bypoll was required after former Union Defence Minister and Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar passed away on March 17. It will instead see Parrikar’s former aide Siddharth Kuncalienkar as the party’s candidate for the by-elections in the state capital.

The announcement was made by the party’s election committee on Sunday afternoon.

Kuncalienkar was earlier elected the Panaji MLA when Parrikar moved to Delhi to be the Union Defence Minister and was reelected in 2017. However, he was chosen to make way after Parrikar decided to return as Goa Chief Minister in February 2017.

Kuncalienkar will be up against Congress candidate Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate whom he had defeated by a narrow margin of a little over 1,000 votes in 2017.

Parrikar’s son Utpal while speaking to Hindustan Times, earlier, said he was asked by his party to hit the campaign trail, but declined to say whether it was in anticipation for his being given the BJP ticket.

“I have not thought about it yet. The only message to me from the party is to campaign for the Lok Sabha,” Utpal added.

The Congress has meanwhile taunted the BJP for it being the last party to declare its candidate for the bypoll.

“The constant delay and deadlines set by the BJP to decide its candidate for Panaji by-poll clearly indicate that the sympathy for Manohar Parrikar, which they were claiming was actually just hype,” state Congress president Girish Chodankar said.

“The BJP tried to test the waters by first introducing Utpal Parrikar as their possible candidate but failed to get any response,” he added.

The Congress had also earlier accused the BJP of trying to foist dynastic politics upon the state by giving a ticket to Utpal.

Voting will be held on May 19, while the results will be declared along with the Lok Sabha and other bypolls on May 23.


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