The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), ruling BJP's estranged ally, Saturday declared support to the Congress candidate in the April 23 by-election to the Mapusa Assembly constituency in Goa. Local MGP leader Vinod Fadke said the party had decided to back Congress' Sudhir Kandolkar. The by-election became necessary after the death of BJP MLA Francis D'Souza. The BJP has fielded his son Joshua D'Souza in the by-poll. Fadke said as the MGP itself was not contesting the election, it decided to support Kandolkar, who is an "efficient and winnable" candidate. "We will work full-time for Kandolkar's victory," he added.
When contacted, senior MGP leader Sudin Dhavalikar -- who was recently dropped from the BJP-led state cabinet -- said the party had left it to its Mapusa unit to decide whom it should support. Interestingly, MGP president Dipak Dhavalikar is contesting Shiroda Assembly by-election where he is pitted against Congress' Mahadev Naik and BJP's Subhash Shirodkar. The ties between BJP and MGP are strained after two MGP legislators joined the BJP in March.
(With inputs from agencies.)