BJP, Congress confident of winning Panaji bypoll

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Panaji, May 17 (IANS) As the election campaign for the Panaji Assembly bypoll wound up on Friday evening, both the Congress and the BJP expressed confidence at winning the May 19 by-election, even as Chief Minister Pramod Sawant scoffed at claims made by the Congress, about overthrowing the BJP-led coalition government soon after results of four Assembly bypolls, including Panaji, are declared on May 23.

Addressing the media on Friday, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said: “The Congress should rouse of its pipe-dream of forming a government, after results are declared on May 23.”

“Congress should not dream of forming a government. The dream will never be fulfilled. Our alliance and independent MLAs are all together. There is no question of the government falling,” Sawant said.

Three Assembly bypolls for the constituencies of Shiroda, Mapusa and Mandrem have been held on April 23, while the bypoll to Panaji Assembly constituency necessitated by the death of Chief Minister late Manohar Parrikar is scheduled to be held on May 19.

Both the BJP and the Congress are currently tied at 14 MLAs each in the state legislative assembly, which is currently reduced to 36 MLAs and the BJP-led coalition government is currently hinged on a wafer thin majority. The results of the four bypolls could have a significant impact on the future of the Pramod Sawant-led government. Sawant was appointed CM in March soon after the death of Parrikar.

The Congress on the other hand said that the BJP would lose the bypolls 4-0 and the gates to unsettling of Sawant’s government would be opened on May 23.

“The BJP will have to bid goodbye to its government after results are declared. The people are tired of their lies and misgovernance,” state Congress President Girish Chodankar said.

The others in the fray include Aam Aadmi Party’s Valmiki Naik and former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Subhash Velingkar of the Goa Suraksha Manch.

The month-long campaign was also marked with drama with a rape victim, who in 2016 had accused Atanasio Monserrate, now the Congress candidate for the Panaji bypoll, going missing and a mysterious assault on the BJP candidate Sidharth Kuncalienkar on Thursday night. The campaign also saw the Congress attack Kuncalienkar, accusing of him of alleged scams in creating infrastructure for the Smart City project in Panaji, a charge which the BJP candidate has said is “baseless”.

–IANS

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