The BJP today nominated late Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s aide Sidharth Kuncalienkar as its candidate for the Panaji assembly seat bypolls, ignoring the candidature of his son Utpal Parrikar. Kuncalienkar’s nomination was approved after much delay by the BJP’s Central Election Committee.
Utpal Parrikar had been considered a front-runner for contesting the May 19 bypoll and his name was expected to be announced on Friday, but a public announcement by former Goa RSS chief Subhash Velingkar that he was also entering the contest, resulted in the party opting for Kuncalienkar — who has been elected Panaji MLA twice — instead.
A senior party official said that with the entry of Velingkar into the fray, the contest for the Panaji seat would be a difficult one, something which the party elders did not wish Utpal to face in his debut electoral stint.
Kuncalienkar, a close aide of Parrikar, was first elected MLA in 2015 soon after Parrikar joined Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet as Defence Minister and resigned from the Panaji seat.