Cong hopes to field controversial leader Babush against Parrikar in Panaji bypoll
Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate, a leader of the United Goans Party, had lost to BJP candidate Siddharth Kuncalienkar by just 919 votes in the February assembly elections.india Updated: May 12, 2017 23:09 IST
The Congress is pinning its hopes on controversial leader Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate to defeat Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar in the upcoming Panaji bypoll.
Babush, a leader of the United Goans Party, had lost to BJP candidate Siddharth Kuncalienkar by just 919 votes in the February assembly elections. The Congress hadn’t fielded a candidate from the Panaji seat.
The controversies surrounding Babush include the alleged rape of a minor domestic help, besides accusations of armed assault.
Babush was picked up by police along with his wife and sons in 2008 and beaten up after a rally he led turned violent. The same year, his eldest son – Rohit – was booked for allegedly raping a German teenager. However, the youth was acquitted in 2011 after both the survivor and her mother refused to testify against him.
Babush’s political journey has been just as controversial. Formerly a member of the Congress party, he was suspended in 2015 for siding with the BJP after Parrikar was nominated as the Union defence minister.
The Congress, however, has decided to enlist the estranged leader in their fight against the saffron party. As many as 14 Congress met Babush on Thursday night and tried convincing him to contest against Parrikar from Panaji. However, Babush reportedly said he would do so only if there was a change in the Goa Congress leadership.
“Our talks are headed in the right direction. The official announcement (on his candidature) will be made in some time,” said Chellakumar, a Goa Congress leader.
All India Congress Committee secretary Girish Chodankar said there was no conflict in the party with regard to Babush’s candidature. “We will be happy to have him as our candidate. We have already started working in this direction,” Chodankar said.
However, Parrikar said he would win the Panaji seat by a margin of over 30%. “Kuncalienkar won by a margin of 8% in the February elections. I am confident of an even greater win,” said Parrikar in an informal chat with mediapersons in Panaji.