Panaji: Chief Minister Pramod Sawant Wednesday evening held a meeting of the BJP MLAs and senior state office bearers of the party including former party legislators to chalk out a strategy for the May 19 Panaji by-election, as well as take stock of the developmental works in various constituencies.
The meeting included BJP MLAs/ ministers namely Milind Naik, Mauvin Godinho, Deepak Pauskar, Alina Saldanha, while the senior state leaders and former legislators of the party included Rajendra Arlekar, Dayanand Mandrekar, Kiran Kandolkar and Ganesh Gaonkar. Few of the BJP MLAs could not attend the meeting, as they are travelling to foreign countries.
Later, it was informed that the Chief Minister, during the meeting assigned responsibilities to the party MLAs and leaders as regards campaigning for the Panaji by-election. Each BJP legislator and leader has been asked to handle two to four booths of the party in the capital city vis-à-vis the May 19 by-poll.
It is also learnt that during the meeting, Chief Minister observed that BJP’s win in the Panaji constituency has become a prestige issue for the party, especially as this constituency was represented by the tallest BJP leader in the state, Manohar Parrikar, for quarter-of-a-century. Most of the BJP MLAs and leaders, besides the Chief Minister himself are expected to camp in the capital city during next two-and-a-half weeks to actively participate in the canvassing for party’s candidate Sidharth Kunkalienkar.
The meeting, however, did not discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the rival candidates namely Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate, Subhash Velingkar and Valmiki Naik.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister also informed that he will write to the Election Commission of India (ECI) to relax the model election code of conduct in the South Goa district.
“The election model code of conduct is applicable across Goa due to by-election for Panaji, which is located in North Goa,” the Chief Minister maintained, adding that if the ECI withdraws this code of conduct for South Goa, then the government would not have to seek repeated permissions from the election officials, for carrying out developmental works in that district.