PANAJI: With indications by former chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar and former minister Mahadev Naik to revolt against the party for the ensuing by-election in Mandrem and Shiroda, respectively, the Bharatiya Janata Party may find the election battlefield tough to win both the seats.
The Congress party, on the other hand, has failed to face the voters soon after its former legislators Dayanand Sopte and Subhash Shirodkar dumped the party in last October.
Even as the date for the bypolls is yet to be announced by the Election Commission, the political atmosphere in both the constituencies has become sizzling, as winning both the seats is now a prestigious issue for both, BJP and Congress.
It is certain that BJP will give ticket to Sopte in Mandrem and Shirodkar in Shiroda. However, the Congress party has apparently not started the process of shortlisting the candidates, though there are many names doing the rounds for both the constituencies.
“We are yet to start the process of shortlisting the candidates. We will soon begin constitution of blocks in both the constituencies which will be asked to suggest the names,” said Goa Pradesh Congress Committee president Girish Chodankar.
When asked for his reactions on former industries minister and senior BJP leader Mahadev Naik, who has expressed his wish to contest the by-election on Congress ticket, Chodankar said, “This proves how strong the Congress party is in Shiroda and it exposes the weakness of BJP.” He further said that the party will consider the names which are recommended by both the blocks of Shiroda and Mandrem irrespective of whether the individual is a Congressman or a non-Congressman.
Sources in the party said that Mahadev Naik personally met senior leaders of the Congress party and urged them to give him an opportunity to contest the by-poll in Shiroda.
According to Congress party sources, names of Zilla Panchayat member Jaideep Shirodkar, Sunil Sawaikar, Dinesh Naik and MGP’s Abhay Parab are emerging as the probable candidates of the party in Shiroda. In Mandrem, names of Babi Bhagkar, Sachin Parab, son of former education minister Sangita Parab, and recently retired Superintendent of Police Umesh Gaonkar are doing the rounds as the probable candidates for Congress.
It may be recalled that former chief minister Parsekar has already announced his willingness to contest the by-poll in Mandrem, which has put BJP in a fix.
Apart from Sopte and Parsekar, there will be candidates of Congress. In addition, Goa Suraksha Manch has also announced to fight the Mandrem by-poll. Another independent candidate Jit Arolkar has already begun his campaign in the constituency.
In Shiroda, apart from Shirodkar, who is likely to contest as BJP candidate, Mahadev Naik is keen on contesting the by-election on Congress ticket. Zilla Panchayat member Jaideep Shirodkar has already begun meeting voters in the constituency without waiting for the Congress party to declare its candidate officially. MGP president Pandurang ‘Deepak’ Dhavalikar has also started campaigning in Shiroda even though the central committee of the party has not taken any decision to contest the bypolls.
When asked, Dhavalikar said that he is meeting voters in Shiroda every day and the meeting of the MGP central committee will be convened once date for the by-polls is declared.
Source:: The Navhind Times