In place of Manohar Parrikar who is now a Union Minister, Sidharth Sripad Kunkalienkar contesteted for BJP making him the most important candidate.
Out of the 5 Indian states where the assembly elections have been held in 2017, Goa is the offering the most open contest between three leading parties: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Indian National Congress (INC) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). This year 250 candidates contest the February 4 polls for the state’s 40 constituencies. Out of this 131 were from South Goa and 119 from North Goa, as per the data available with Chief Electoral Officer. This was a significant rise over 202 candidates who battled for seats in 2012. This year, BJP has fielded its candidates on 36 seats and is also supporting Independent nominees in two constituencies. On the other hand, Congress is contesting on 37 seats, NCP on 16 and the MGP-GSM-Shiv Sena alliance has fielded 26 candidates. With senior BJP leader Manohar Parrikar now serving as Defence Minister in Narendra Modi government, party’s status has gone down in the state and it will be interesting to see if it can regain its previous dominance.
Panaji is a major seat in Goa being the capital of the state. It was also the home constituency of former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar who is being succeded by Siddharth Kunkolienkar. In the past Parrikar has won over the voters by providing them government jobs, developmental works and better governance. However, since his departure there have been many issues on which BJP is being targeted. So it will be interesting to if he can still use his magic wand and help his party regain the familiar battlefield.
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Number of voters
There are about 21,355 registered voters with the Election Commission from the Panaji constituency. Out of this, 10,404 are male while 10,951 are female voters.
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What are the key issues
For last 25 years, winning in Panaji has been a cakewalk for Bharatiya Janata Party making this seat a thing of pride. However, after Manohar Parrikar was replaced by Siddharth Kunkolienkar, people have faced many problems like absence of a garbage treatment plant and lack of parking spaces. This can be used by other candidates to their advantage.
Who was the winner last time
The 2012 Assembly elections was a happy one for Bharatiya Janata party as Senior BJP leader and former Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar won this seat by a convincing margin of 6,068 votes. Parrikar won 11,086 votes while Congress candidate Yatin Parekh got 5,018 votes. The voter turnout was a decent one reported at 78.85%.
Who are the competing candidates
In place of Manohar Parrikar who is now a Union Minister, Sidharth Sripad Kunkalienkar will contest for BJP making him the most important candidate. Dilip Ghadi (IND) and Valmiki Naik (AAP) are the other two important candidates.
Why is this constituency important?
Panaji is constituency No. 11 of Goa legislative assembly and is situated in North Goa district. Being the home constituency of former Chief Minister and also the capital of the state, this seat is very important. Winning here will reflect the party’s status in the state. Since, Congress has decided not to pitch a candidate from this seat, it will be interesting to if BJP will get any competition or not.