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Goa Rajya Sabha poll: BJP, Congress nominees file nomination

LiveMint logoLiveMint 11-07-2017 Abhiram Ghadyalpatil

It is an election between two state unit chiefs in Goa. The state's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and opposition Congress party have fielded their state unit presidents Vinay Tendulkar and Shantaram Naik, respectively for the lone Rajya Sabha election in Goa. Tendulkar, who was recommended by the state unit last week, and Naik filed their nominations on Tuesday which was the last date to do so. The Congress on Monday decided to nominate the sitting MP Shantaram Naik whose Rajya Sabha term ends on 28 July. The election takes place on 21 July. 

The BJP nominee was accompanied by the leaders of BJP allies in Goa who are part of the ruling alliance. Goa Forward Party’s (GFP) leader and city and town planning minister Vijay Sardesai, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party’s (MGP) leader and PWD minister Sudin Dhavalikar, and Independent and Information technology minister Rohan Khaunte proposed and seconded Tendulkar’s name. 

In the 40-member Goa assembly, the BJP has 13 members and is supported by 3 legislators each from the GFP and MGP, and two independents. The Congress has 17 members. With the allies deciding to support the BJP nominee, the contest has tilted in favour of Tendulkar. “It is going to be a smooth sailing for us. We have the numbers,” said a Goa BJP office-bearer, requesting anonymity. He, however, admitted that without the allies’ support, the election would have been a tough battle for the BJP. “It is only logical that the smaller parties who are part of the coalition would support the BJP nominee,” the BJP functionary said. If Tendulkar gets elected, he may have to quit the position of Goa BJP president as per the ‘one person, one post’ rule of the BJP, this BJP office-bearer said. 

Naik filed his nomination accompanied by All India Congress Committee’s Goa in-charge A. Chella Kumar and all Congress MLAs. Chandrakant Kavlekar, leader of the opposition in Goa assembly, told reporters that the Congress party would reach out to “all secular parties” in Goa with an appeal to support Naik. A Congress party office-bearer and legislator, who did not wish to be named, said Naik would appeal to the “conscience” of the MLAs of smaller parties who are in alliance with the BJP. 

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