BJP nominates two-time MLA Sidharth Kuncolienkar for Panaji bypoll

The BJP on Sunday nominated Sidharth Kuncolienkar for the Panaji bypoll ignoring late Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s son and front-runner Utpal Parrikar.

Mr. Kuncolienkar, a two-time BJP MLA from Panaji, is a close aide of Parrikar.

Sources in political circles in Panaji said the announcement of former Goa RSS chief Subhash Velingkar to contest the seat on Saturday had resulted in the BJP opting for the experienced Mr. Kuncolienkar over Mr. Utpal.

A senior office-bearer also said with the entry of Mr. Velingkar, the contest would be a difficult one something the party seniors did not wish Mr. Utpal to face in his electoral debut.

Mr. Kuncolienkar was first elected MLA in 2015 after Parrikar joined the Narendra Modi Cabinet as Defence Minister and was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Lucknow, after he vacated the Panaji seat.

In the 2017 Assembly election, he was again elected MLA from Panaji but had to resign after Parrikar returned to the State politics as Chief Minister of the BJP-led coalition.

Mr. Kuncolienkar faces Atanasio Monserrate of the Congress, Valmiki Naik of the Aam Aadmi Party and Mr. Velingkar of the Goa Suraksha Manch.


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