Panaji: The central leadership of the Bharatiya Janata party has made up its mind to give the candidature for the forthcoming Mandrem and Shiroda by-polls to former Congressmen Dayanand Sopte and Subhash Shirodkar, respectively, who had defected to the BJP in October last year.
Highly-placed sources in the state BJP unit told ‘The Navhind Times’ that the party’s national president Amit Shah during his February 9 visit to Goa made it aptly clear that the party needs to “honour its word” to Sopte and Shirodkar as regards fielding them as the BJP candidates during the by-polls for leaving the Congress and joining the BJP.
Shah had also met former Mandrem legislator Laxmikant Parsekar, who was defeated in the Mandrem constituency by Sopte at the 2017 Goa assembly elections, and tried to convince him about giving up his claim on the particular constituency at the forthcoming by-poll.
It is also learnt that the BJP central leadership is very serious on “honouring its word” to the two former Congressmen since the party wants to send out a clear message that those who join the BJP in the future on any condition, will have the particular condition fulfilled. For this purpose, the BJP central leadership has eliminated the ‘winnability’ criteria for Sopte and Shirodkar.
Admitting that he had a closed-door meeting with Shah during his recent Goa visit, Parsekar stated that all the BJP workers from the Mandrem constituency are firmly standing behind him and that he would not back Sopte at any cost if the former Congressman is declared party’s candidate for the by-election.
“I was defeated at the 2017 state assembly election as I had completely lost my contact with the constituency during my 2012-2017 tenure as the Mandrem MLA,” Parsekar admitted, observing that he was detached from his constituency due to his responsibility as the state chief minister, which prevented him from frequently visiting Mandrem.
“I, however, have explained this to my voters, and am with them for the last two years,” Parsekar added, pointing out that during these two years he has held interactions with his voters on various issues ranging from the proposed electronic city in
Tuem to the upcoming Mopa airport to mining problem, and even the financial problems of the state, about which he had been unable to give any clarification to his voters during the period 2012-1017.
“Now the winds of opposition against me have reversed and my voters are with me,” he noted.
Parsekar also refrained from commenting on the possible decision of the BJP central leadership to announce Sopte and Shirodkar as party’s candidates for the forthcoming by-polls, pointing out, “I was not a party to the any promise made to them.”
He however said the prospects of Sopte at the by-poll are not too good as the Mandrem voters have tested the former Congressman for the past two years and are not happy with him, especially as no development has taken place in the constituency from 2017 onwards. [NT]