BJP panel loses Panaji civil polls

Panaji, March 8 (IANS) A BJP-backed panel on Tuesday failed to win the Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP), the municipal corporation here, which Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has represented as legislator five times in a row.

The loss came despite hectic campaigning by Parrikar and state cabinet ministers.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) backed panel lost 13-17 to a panel floated by Atanasio Monserrate, an unattached legislator. The Congress-backed panel failed dismally, not winning a single seat.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday after his panel was declared the winner in the poll to the 30-member CCP, the only municipal corporation in the state, Monserrate said he would be announcing the new mayor soon.

“We have won with two seats to spare. I will announce the mayor candidate soon. The Congress, like I said earlier, has only played as a B-team of the BJP and tried to spoil our chances of victory,” Monserrate said.

The BJP, a party that heads a coalition government in Goa, had used its might in the CCP poll, which included campaigning by Parrikar, a former chief minister.

The party, however, maintained that it has managed to win one more seat compared to the last municipal poll. “We may have lost, but we did manage to improve our tally by one seat,” Panaji legislator Siddarth Kunkolienkar told reporters.

On March 6, when the municipal polls were conducted, Parrikar, after casting his ballot had said that despite his high-profile brief as defence minister, he had campaigned for the BJP-backed panel.

“Campaigning doesn’t have to be done by going physically. My campaigning is still on through either my supporters, local MLA and sometime on phone wherever its possible,” Parrikar had said.

The election to the municipal corporation in Panaji, is the last major scheduled poll, before the state goes into election mode for the 2017 state legislative assembly election.

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