BJP set to win three bypolls in Goa, but loses Parrikar’s Panaji seat to Congress
The four assembly by-polls -- one-tenth of the strength of the 40 member Goa assembly -- could either strengthen the hands of the newly-chosen Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant or sound the death knell of his government.Updated: May 23, 2019 15:24 IST
The opposition Congress wrested the Panaji assembly bypoll seat from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) even as the saffron party is set to win the remaining three by-elections in Goa.
Although leads in Mapusa, Mandrem, Shiroda bypolls will give a breather to chief minister Pramod Sawant-led coalition in the state, losing the Panaji by-election -- a seat held by the BJP for 26 years -- is likely to hit the party.
Bypolls to four assembly seats in Goa were held alongside the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections.
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Congress candidate Atanasio Monserrate won by 1,758 votes after three rounds of counting concluded on Thursday. He polled 8,748 votes as against the BJP’s Siddharth Kuncaliencar, who stood at 6,990 votes. The official announcement is awaited.
Speaking to reporters outside the counting centre on Thursday, Monserrate thanked voters for reposing faith in him and said the result proved that the BJP had a leadership crisis after Parrikar’s death. “It is now proved that they are nothing without Parrikar. They tried to tarnish my image and instead of talking about what they are going to do for Panaji, they were trying to defame me. I will implement my vision for Panaji,” he said.
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The Panaji seat was vacated after the death of former chief minister Manohar Parrikar, who had represented it since 1994 barring a brief period when he was appointed the Union defence minister.
“I accept the decision given by ‘Panimites’ (people from Panaji) and take responsibility for the defeat. My countless workers who worked day and night for the election [and] our office bearers, I also thank [them]. We will need to work harder for Panaji and we will start the work immediately,” Kuncalienkar said.
The BJP is set to win the Mapusa assembly bypoll by a margin of around 1,113 votes after all seven rounds of counting were completed. The saffron party had fielded Joshua D’Souza, son of late former chief minister Francis D’Souza whose death earlier this year necessitating the bypoll, against Congress’s Sudhir Kandolkar.
In the Mandrem assembly by-election, the BJP was leading by around 1,000 votes and in Shiroda, by around 200 votes. The figures are likely to be updated as counting continues.
In Lok Sabha election results, the Narendra Modi-led BJP was leading by 21,000 votes in the North Goa parliamentary constituency while in South Goa, the Congress was leading by 8,000 votes.
The ruling BJP currently has 14 members including the two MGP MLAs who recently merged their ‘faction’ with the BJP and enjoys the support of three MLAs of the Goa Forward Party and three independents who had campaigned on an anti-BJP platform but agreed to support the BJP on condition that Manohar Parrikar returns from Delhi, where he was Union Defence Minister, to be Goa’s Chief Minister.