Voting begins for Panaji Assembly by-election

PTI file photo

Polling for theby-election to Panaji Assembly seat in Goa began at 7 am on Sunday with BJP candidate Siddharth Kunkolienkar and Goa Suraksha Manch nominee Subhash Velingkar being among the early voters.

Kunkolienkar and Velingkar reach their respective polling booths soon after the voting began and exercised their democratic right.

Total 30 polling stations have been set up in the constituency, which covers areas including the state capital, where there are 22,482 eligible voters.

The bypoll was necessitated due to the demise of sitting BJP MLA and former chief minister Manohar Parrikar.

Parrikar, who died on March 17 due to a pancreatic related ailment, represented the constituency for nearly two- and-a-half decades since 1994.

Total six candidates, including two Independents, are contesting the bypoll.

Kunkolienkar, who earlier won twice from Panaji, is fighting to retain the BJP's hold over the seat, which is considered as its bastion.

The Congress has fielded former minister Atanasio Monserratte, who lost against Kunkolienkar in the 2017 state Assembly elections.

Monserratte had then contested as an Independent.

The Aam Aadmi Party has fielded Valmiki Naik, who also contested from the seat in 2017 but lost.

Velingkar, the former Goa RSS chief, is contesting his first election on the ticket of his outfit Goa Suraksha Manch.

There are also two Independent candidates - Dilip Ghadi and Vijai More - in the fray.

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