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Campaign for Panaji bypoll ends

PTI | Panaji | Updated: 18-05-2019 01:39 IST | Created: 17-05-2019 18:06 IST
Campaign for Panaji bypoll ends
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Campaign for the Panaji by-poll, wherein the BJP is striving to retain the seat, while the Congress is eyeing to win it back from the ruling party after a gap of around 25 years, drew to a close Friday evening. The by-election, to be held on May 19, was necessitated due to the death of former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar in March this year.

Total 22,482 voters are eligible to cast their votes. Parrikar had represented the constituency for nearly two-and-a-half decades since 1994.

Total six candidates, including two independents, are in the fray. The BJP has fielded Siddharth Kunkolienkar as its candidate. He had won this assembly seat twice in the past when Parrikar was elevated as the Defence Minister.

The Congress has fielded former minister Atanasio Monserratte, who is currently facing several criminal charges, including rape. Former RSS Goa Chief Subhash Velingkar is contesting his first election on the Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM) ticket.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has fielded Valmiki Naik, who had lost the 2017 assembly election against Kunkolienkar. Two independent candidates- Dilip Ghadi and Vijai More- are also trying their luck.

The campaign was laced with allegations and counter allegations between the BJP and the Congress, which are the main contenders. The issue of shifting off-shore casinos from Mandovi river was the major poll plank for the political parties.

While BJP manifesto remained silent on the issue, Congress, AAP and GSM assured to shift them out of the river. There are currently six-off shore casinos in Mandovi.

The BJP is banking on the sympathy wave in the absence of Parrikar. The saffron party has appealed to the voters to cast their votes in its favour as a tribute to Parrikar. The party also left no stone unturned to target the Congress for promoting a candidate, who is facing criminal cases.

Monserrate has been booked for raping a minor girl. He was allegedly also involved in the incident of attack on a police station.

The election saw no star campaigners, except senior BJP leader and Union minister Nitin Gadkari, who addressed a poll rally on Thursday.


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