PANAJI: The central committee of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party on Thursday formally decided to contest the upcoming by-elections to Shiroda and Mandrem constituencies.
The MGP is an alliance partner of the BJP-led coalition government, which has the Goa Forward Party and Independent legislators as other allies.
MGP president Pandurang ‘Deepak’ Dhavalikar will be the candidate for the Shiroda by-poll. But the party has not finalised the candidate for the Mandrem by-election.
Speaking to media persons after a party meeting, Dhavalikar said the party has decided to contest the by-polls as the MGP is strongly opposed to defection by legislators.
“We are not contesting against any party or anybody. We are against the defection of MLAs in the middle of a term. Hence the MGP has decided to contest the upcoming by-polls in both the constituencies,” Dhavalikar said.
The by-elections have been necessitated as Congress MLAs from both the constituencies resigned and join the BJP in October last year.
The MGP chief said that he will file his nomination as the actual candidate, while former MLA and party’s general secretary Lavu Mamledar will be the dummy candidate in Shiroda.
“The central committee has decided that the MGP will not have truck with any other political party for both the by-elections. We will contest in both the seats on our own,” Mamledar clarified.
The MGP general secretary asserted that both the assembly constituencies had been bastions of the MGP.
“We had contested 2017 assembly elections in both the seats. We have strength enough to get our candidates elected from these two seats,” he reckoned.
The central committee also decided to warn Ponda-based party leader Dr Ketan Bhatikar against issuing false statements to the media about the party.
“Bhatikar is claiming to be the MGP spokesperson. But the fact is that the party has not appointed him on that post. Secondly, during a debate on a local news channel he said that I had invited him into the party, which is not true. Thus, the committee has taken a decision to issue a warning to him,” Mamledar added.