Ending a 25-year legacy, the Congress on Thursday wrested the Panaji Assembly constituency from the BJP that failed to retain the seat largely represented by late Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar since 1994. BJP candidate Sidharth Kuncalienkar lost to Atanasio Monserrate of the Congress by 1,758 votes as Monserrate polled 8,748 votes against Kuncalienkar’s 6,990.

AAP’s Valmiki Naik and Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM) candidate Subhash Velingkar polled 236 and 516 votes, respectively.

“This is a victory of the Congress party and a vote for the development. Panaji has been deprived of development for the past so many years,” Monserrate said after his victory was announced.

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The Panaji Assembly bypoll was necessitated after the death of MLA and Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar in March, who had been suffering from pancreatic cancer.

Parrikar first won the seat in 1994. He won it in 2014 too, but vacated it after being called to Delhi to join Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet. In his absence, Kuncalienkar represented Panaji twice. When he returned to state politics after the 2017 Goa elections, Parrikar was once again elected Panaji MLA.

Parrikar’s son Utpal had sought ticket to contest the bypoll but the state leadership did not agree to it.

(With agency inputs)

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