Cong ropes in tainted neta to face junior Parikkar

Babush Monserrate (center). Photo: Twitter

The Congress on Thursday roped in controversial politician Atanasio alias Babush Monserrate into its camp on Thursday, in its bid to thwart former chief minister Manohar Parrikar’s son, Utpal, from retaining his late father’s seat and the former Defence Minister’s legacy. 

While the battle for the prestigious Panaji assembly bypoll to fill the Panaji seat vacant due to Parrikar’s death, will be held on May 19, long after the upcoming Lok Sabha and round of three assembly bypolls on April 23, both the Congress as well as the BJP are gearing up early for the tussle.

Monserrate, who was charge sheeted last year for raping a minor girl, was probed for forging an education certificate and sacked from the Congress for anti-party activity some years back, claims he is only a prodigal son, who has returned back to the party, while denying the charges levelled in the complaints against him.

"I have moved around in the wilderness for years before coming back home. I have joined the Congress to drive out the BJP from Panaji," Monserrate told Deccan Herald after rejoining the Congress on Thursday. 

The candidature of Monserrate is a shot in the arm for the Congress, which been struggling to find a match for Manohar Parrikar, who has held the Panaji seat since 1994, with only one break taken to serve as Defence Minister in Union Government.

Monserrate not only has been controlling the adjoining Panaji suburb of Taleigao for nearly three decades now, his coterie currently runs the Panaji municipal corporation. On the flipside, Monserrate has a history of being politically promiscuous, having served as a cabinet minister in Parrikar’s cabinet early in his political career, as well as joining regional parties only to quit them after brief stints.

Whether he will be able to match Utpal, who is all set to make his saffron debut in the upcoming assembly bypoll for Panaji constituency remains to be seen.

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