Lok Sabha elections 2019: It’s BJP vs former RSS functionary in Panaji bypoll
The bypoll to the Panaji assembly seat will be held along with the last phase of the ongoing national polls on May 19. Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar’s death in March necessitated the by-poll. Panaji has been a BJP stronghold since 1994, when Parrikar first won the seat. BJP’s Siddharth Kuncalienkar who won the seat by 1,069 votes in 2017, is up against Congress’s Atanasio Monserrate and Subhash Velingkar, who is a former functionary of BJP’s ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
“Velingkar commands huge respect among the BJP workers and will make deep inroads into the BJP vote share and damage the BJP,” said political commentator Pandurang Gaonkar.
The BJP’s move of picking Kuncalienkar in place of Parrikar’s son, Utpal, has caused some resentment. The Congress and BJP have 14 members each in the 40-member assembly. Three Goa Forward and three independent lawmakers support the BJP government in the state.