Panaji: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which currently rules Goa, has decided to contest 38 out of the total 40 Assembly seats in the state, where elections will be held next month, a senior party functionary said on Friday. Talking to PTI, the office-bearer said that in two constituencies – Benaulim and Nuvem – the party will not field any candidate on its symbol.
Traditionally, people in Benaulim and Nuvem constituencies vote for non-BJP candidates. These two are Christian-dominated seats. Currently, Benaulim is represented by Churchill Alemao, who after getting elected on the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) ticket, shifted to the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) last month, while Nuvem constituency is represented by Wilfred D’Sa, who had won the last election as a Congress candidate, but later joined the ruling BJP. “A formal announcement about the candidates would be made after January 16 when the party’s parliamentary board approves the list,” he said.
The BJP has been holding meetings of its core committee to finalise the names of the candidates. Former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadanavis, who is the party’s in-charge for Goa elections, has been chairing meetings attended by BJP’s state unit president Sadanand Shet Tanavade, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, among others. On Thursday, Sawant had told reporters that BJP functionaries will visit Delhi on January 15 to hold a meeting with the top brass, while the party’s parliamentary board will finalise the names of candidates the next day.
The BJP is currently ruling Goa with 23 MLAs by its side as four legislators – Michael Lobo, Alina Saldanha , Carlose Almeida and Pravin Zantye – resigned from the party and the House. Apart from the BJP and the Congress, several other parties, including the TMC and Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), will be fighting the Goa Assembly polls to be held on February 14.