Small Solace for Congress Amid Saffron Surge, Wins Parrikar’s Goa Seat After 25 Years
In the Modi tsunami that’s hit the country, a little island of consolation stood out for the Congress: it managed to pull a huge upset, wresting Manohar Parrikar’s Panaji assembly seat which had been a BJP stronghold for 25 years.
The Congress last won this seat in Goa’s capital city 30 years ago in 1989. The BJP had held it since 1994 when Parrikar first made his political debut.
The Congress also won the South Goa Lok Sabha seat, though the BJP managed to retain North Goa again.
Parrikar’s former aide Sidharth Kuncalienkar.
Taking a gamble on the maverick politician Atanasio aka Babush Monserrate paid off for the Congress in Panaji. Monserrate defeated Parrikar’s former aide Sidharth Kuncalienkar with a convincing margin of 1,700 votes, having lost to him by a 1,000 odd votes in 2017.
Retaining Panaji was a prestige issue for the BJP, and even chief minister Pramod Sawant threw himself into the campaign vigorously, making a last-ditch attempt to woo “Parrikar’s Catholic voters” with a lunch for a select few.
But it was the rank outsider Monserrate – who does not live in the city – who walked away with the prize, as the voter brushed off the BJP’s attempts to dredge up dirt on the Congress candidate and elected Monserrate to give his “development agenda” a try.
At the heart of the Congress campaign was the offshore casinos – six of them currently – which Monserrate promised to move out of the Mandovi River within a hundred days if the Congress comes to power in the state.