Goa Cricket Association Secretary Vinod Phadke, an accused in a fraud case, and BJP and Congress turncoats are among the candidates who figure on the list of 18 candidates released today by Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) for next month’s Assembly polls, which it is fighting after exiting the BJP government.
MGP has announced its alliance with RSS rebel Subhash Velingkar-led Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM) and Shiv Sena for the February 4 elections. As per the understanding among constituents of the alliance which will be contesting 35 seats, Sena will field four candidates, GSM six while rest will be contested by MGP.
MGP has retained three sitting and as many former MLAs in the first list, including the aliance’s chief ministerial face Sudin Dhavalikar (Madkai) and sitting MLAs Dipak Dhavalikar (Priol) and Lavoo Mamlatdar (Ponda).
Also figures on the list are former Independent legislator Naresh Sawal, who recently resigned to join MGP, who will contest on party ticket from Bicholim constituency, and his former colleagues in Assembly, Manohar Babu Asgaonkar (Pernem) and Vasudev Meng Gaonkar (Sanguem).
Asgaonkar and Gaonkar had left their parent parties Congress and BJP, respectively, to join MGP in run up to the elections.
Congress leader Abhay Prabhu, who quit recently, is in ring from Shiroda constituency. MGP has also given tickets to two former BJP leaders Jagidish Bhobe and Satyavijay Naik from St Andre and Navelim constituencies, respectively.
Interestingly, the list also names GCA secretary Vinod Phadke as the MGP nominee from Mapusa seat where he is pitted against BJP heavyweight and deputy Chief Minister Francis D’Souza.
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Phadke, along with GCA president Chetan Dessai and treasurer Akbar Mulla, was arrested in June last year by police for alleged fraud to the tune of approximately Rs 3 crore belonging to the organisation.
Senior MGP leader Shridhar Mandrekar will be in the fray in Mandrem seat, currently represented by Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar. In Cumbharjua constituency, MGP will back Independent candidate Prasad Harmalkar.
Other candidates include Vijay Gaonkar (Valpoi), Manish Arolkar (Vasco), Premanand Nanoskar (Dabolim), Consessao Dias (Curtorim), Dilip Naik (Fatorda) and Deepak Pawaskar (Sanvordem).
MGP, the first ruling party in Goa after its liberation from Portuguese rule, recently withdrew support to the Laxmikant Parsekar government after the chief minister dropped its two minister Sudin Dhavlikar and Dipak Dhavlikar.