Panaji: The central election committee of the Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday declared Sidharth Kunkalienkar as party’s candidate for the Panaji assembly constituency bypoll to be held on May 19.
J P Nadda, the secretary of the committee, came out with this announcement thus ending the suspense over the BJP candidature for the particular by-election.
The bypoll in the capital city is necessitated by the demise of the former chief minister, Manohar Parrikar, who represented the constituency at the time of his death on March 17, 2019. Utpal, the son of the deceased BJP leader, was also a frontrunner for BJP’s candidature for the Panaji bypoll.
Speaking to ‘The Navhind Times’, Sidharth said that he would contest the election with issues such as water supply to city by way of the new 27 MLD water treatment plant at Opa-Khandepar, providing sewerage network to the city and development of the city through Smart City Mission.
“I intend to complete all the works presently taken up under the Smart City Mission for the capital city, including bringing Panaji under the CCTV surveillance,” he added, pointing out that these works would be completed, during the remaining three-year tenure of the present state government.
The highly placed BJP sources stated that the decision of the former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief for Goa region Subhash Velingkar to contest the Panaji by-election as a candidate of the Goa Suraksha Manch tilted the decision of the BJP’s central election committee in favour of more experienced Sidharth.
Sidharth, the two-time city MLA, had contested the Panaji bypoll successfully in 2015, after Manohar Parrikar resigned as the then city legislator and went to Delhi to join the Narendra Modi cabinet as the defence minister. Sidharth again contested from Panaji during 2017 state assembly election against Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate, and won the election. He resigned in May 2017 to make way for Manohar Parrikar, who returned to Goa as the chief minister.
Meanwhile, state BJP president Vinay Tendulkar said that Sidharth would file his nomination papers as the BJP candidate on April 29. “This time around we won’t have Manohar Parrikar to guide us during the Panaji election, but we are having his blessings with us,” he observed.