Panaji: Congress’ Atanasio Monserratte on Thursday wrested Panaji Assembly seat, held by the late chief minister Manohar Parrikar, from the BJP and with a margin of over 1,775 votes in the by-poll held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections. (Also Catch LIVE Updates of Lok Sabha Election 2019 Vote Counting Here)

The Panaji Assembly seat became vacant after the demise of former Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar, who held the seat for nearly two-and-a-half decades since 1994.

The BJP had fielded Siddharth Kunkolienkar to retain the seat. Goa Assembly has a strength of 40 members out of which BJP currently has 12 legislators and enjoys the support of legislators from Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), Vijay Sardesai of the Goa Forward Party (GFP) and three independents. GFP and MGP each have three MLAs.

Congress, on the other hand, has 15 MLAs in the House till now.

It must be noted that speculations were rife that Parrikar’s son Utpal would be given the ticket. However, Kunkolienkar was picked instead.

Utpal took the snub graciously and said, “I have been saying from day one that whatever the party decides, I will comply with that. I will be working for the candidate the party decides.”

He said, “I have been campaigning in Panjim going door to door for the last 15 days. When I would go to any house, a woman would come out and they would have tears in their eyes after looking at me.”

The nomination of Kunkolienkar, an aide of late Parrikar, was approved after much deliberation by the BJP’s Central Election Committee (CEC), said J P Nadda, secretary, CEC, in a statement.