GFP leader Monserratte says he will contest Panaji bypoll

The Goa Forward Party (GFP), a BJP ally, found itself in an embarrassing situation when its vice-president and former state minister Atanasio Monserratte Friday announced he would contest the Panaji assembly bypoll.

Monserratte said he would be contesting as an Independent from the Panaji constituency which fell vacant following the death of its sitting MLA and former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday last.

"I have decided to contest. Since my party is not willing to give me ticket, I would resign and fight as an Independent candidate," said Monserratte, who has earlier represented constituencies like St Cruz and Taleigao, bordering Panaji.

A Monserratte-led panel is ruling the Corporation of City of Panaji, the civic body for the state capital.

Reacting to his statement, Deputy Chief Minister and GFP president Vijai Sardesai said he would never support Monserrattes decision to contest against the official candidate of the BJP-led ruling coalition.

"If he is contesting as an Independent, he is saving me from embarrassment. The stand of our party is very clear - that when we are in alliance, we should not be contesting against the official candidate," Sardesai said.

He said the party is yet to receive his resignation.

GFP vice-president Durgadas Kamat said Monserratte has been asking for a ticket from Panaji, but the party is not interested in contesting from the seat.

"The party has said we are part of the coalition government and we can't fight against the official candidate.

"We have to practice what we preach...we had objected to the MGP (another coalition partner) contesting byelection (against official candidate) so we ourselves also can't contest it," Kamat said.

The date for by-election in Panaji is yet to be announced.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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