BJP to contest only 5 out of 8 seats at stake in Salcete

Probable candidates keep fingers crossed as party to unveil names on Sunday


As the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has decided to contest as many as five out of the eight seats at stake in minority Salcete, probable candidates are keeping their fingers crossed as the party is set to unveil the names of candidates on Sunday.

Earlier this week, the party leadership had conducted ballot in the South Goa district office to shortlist the names of candidates for the constituencies of Margao, Fatorda, Cuncolim, Curtorim and Navelim.

While the party has almost zeroed in on the candidates in Margao, Fatorda and Cuncolim, where the Lotus had bloomed in the past, the party is making serious attempts in Navelim and Curtorim this time round.

Congress-turned-BJP MLA Clafacio Dias has kicked off his campaign in Cuncolim, former two-time MLA Damu Naik is moving door-to-door in Fatorda to take on arch political rival MLA Vijai Sardesai.

In Margao, the entry of Deputy Chief Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar in the fray has changed the complexion of the game. Ajgaonkar, however, is presently down with Covid and it remains to be seen how the party will go about the candidature in Margao.

All eyes are focused on the remaining two Assembly constituencies of Navelim and Curtorim, where the party seemed determined to cash in on the likely division in the Congress vote.

Take the case of Navelim. The party did not contest election for the Navelim seat over the last decade and half, but had played its due role in supporting independents in the 2007 and 2012 elections to defeat the Congress.

Having realised that the party has grown in size in Navelim over the years, local party leaders have insisted on the party leadership to throw its hat in the election ring. While party leaders saying that the party’s vote bank may have touched the 7,000-figure mark in Navelim, they are of the strong opinion that the Lotus has a fair chance of winning the seat for the first time in view of the likely split in the Congress vote between the Congress, Trinamool Congress, Aam Aadmi Party and Independents.

Sources said a host of local players, including two-time Zilla Panchayat member, Ulhas Tuemkar, party spokesperson and Muslim face Urfan Mulla and Satyavijai Naik are amongst the strong contenders for the ticket.

Similarly, the BJP is planning to go big in minority-dominated Curtorim, where the party has been growing from strength to strength with each passing election. Given that the Congress, TMC, Aam Aadmi Party and Independents are expected to be vying for the same electoral space, the BJP is planning to make big in Curtorim this time.

Sources informed that BJP ST leader Anthony Barbosa, party Margao Municipal councillor Parvati Paradkar, Bavesh Zamabulim and Yogesh Khandeparkar are amongst the aspirant for the party ticket. While sources do not rule out the possibility of the party nominating Anthony Barbosa for Curtorim, the ST leader has told party leaders that he will support the party in the ensuing polls to ensure the Lotus blooms in Curtorim for the first time.

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