Panaji: Political parties have geared up for the Panaji constituency by-election with senior Congress leaders Surendra Furtado and Arthur Sequeira staking claims to contest the seat.
The seat fell vacant after former chief minister Manohar Parrikar and BJP MLA from Panaji resigned from the constituency on November 25, ending his long four-term association with the assembly seat.
Congress leader and Panaji Mayor Surendra Furtado and senior leader Arthur Sequeira today handed over letter to the party chief staking claim for the ticket.
Congress, had however, invited applications from aspirants, which would be forwarded to the party high command, who will take the final call.
Joint Chief Electoral officer Narayan Navti told PTI on Tuesday that date for the by-poll has not been announced yet.
"We expect the poll to happen in February next year," he said.
Parrikar, who hails from neighbouring Mapusa, managed to create a strong footing in his constituency that largely comprises of urban electorates.
The by-poll has come as a litmus test for the BJP, which is struggling to find a candidate who can match calibre of Parrikar.
While party-worker Siddharth Cuncolienkar, who was assisting Parrikar in administrative works, has been named as a front runner, other aspirants like Raju Sukerkar are also considered for the post.
Parrikar, who has been shuttling between New Delhi and Panaji in last one month has been given responsibility to choose his successor.
"The candidate will be like me. He will have contacts
with the masses," the former chief minister had said.
He had, however, refused to delve further on the choice of the candidate.
The BJP workers, on the hand, are reportedly unhappy with Cuncolienkar, who, according to them, cannot be looked upon as an alternative of Parrikar.
During the recently held BJP convention, workers had appealed to Parrikar to select the candidate.
Meanwhile, in what can change the entire dynamics of the Panaji by-poll, Congress legislator from neighbouring Santa Cruz seat, Atanasio Monserratte had recently announced that he would quit the party and contest as an independent from the constituency.
Monserratte told PTI that he has already began campaigning in the constituency and would resign (as an MLA from Santa Cruz) after the date for the by-poll is announced.
The former Town and Country Planning Minister wields heavy weight in the Panaji constituency as local corporation of Panaji have a majority of corporators backed by his panel.