Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM) today replaced Krishnaraj Sukerkar, an aide of RSS rebel leader Subhash Velingkar with Ketan Bhatikar as the party candidate in Panaji constituency for the upcoming Assembly polls. GSM President Anand Shirodkar said that Sukerkar will not be able to contest from Panaji constituency owing to health issues, but would continue to be spearheading the campaign in the constituency. Panaji is an important constituency for GSM, which has been a BJP bastion and was represented by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar till he was elevated to the union cabinet in 2015. Shirodkar said GSM had began campaign in the constituency after announcing Sukerkar as the candidate. "We are getting enormous response from the people in this constituency," he added. Sukerkar was North Goa chief of RSS before he resigned from the post after Velingkar was relieved of the duty by Sangh due to his decision to form a political party to counter BJP in the assembly elections. Bhatikar who is also a physiotherapist of Goa Cricket Association (GCA) will represent the grand alliance between GSM-Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party-Shiv Sena in this constituency. The alliance has decided to contest on 35 of the total 40 seats of which Shiv Sena will contest four seats - Saligao, Thivim, Cuncolim and Mormugao and GSM on six - Siolim, Panaji, Mayem, Sankhali, Curchorem and Velim constituencies. MGP has also announced its first list of 18 candidates.
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