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Ex-Goa RSS chief says not in fray to split votes

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Press Trust of India Panaji
Former Goa RSS president Subhash Velingkar, who is contesting the byelection to Panaji Assembly constituency, Saturday dismissed reports that his presence in the poll fray would divide votes, apparently of the BJP.
The battle for the seat which fell vacant due to death of former chief minister Manohar Parrikar is hotting up with Congress fielding former minister Atanasio Monserratte.
The BJP is reportedly weighing the options between late Parrikar's son Utpal and former MLA Siddharth Kuncolienkar for the May 19 contest.
"The GSM is contesting the Panaji bypoll to win and not to eat into votes of anybody, as being projected by some leaders," he told PTI.
Velingkar said he would not join either the Congress or the BJP after elections.
"Rather than getting associated with the corrupt and unprincipled political parties like Congress and BJP, I would prefer to sit in the opposition," he said.
Velingkar, a known Parrikar-baiter, also said that he has the "ability to fill in the vacuum created in Goa polity after the death of Parrikar".
Parrikar, 63, died on March 17,2019 after a year-long fight with a pancreatic ailment.
"I had political and ideological differences with Parrikar but it is a fact that he was a tall leader and after him there is a vacuum in state politics," said Velingkar.
Velingkar was sacked as Goa unit chief of RSS in 2016, following his criticism of the BJP and the state government over the issue of the Medium of Instruction (MoI) in elementary education.
Monserratte, who was vice president of the Goa Forward Party (GFP) until recently has crossed over to the Congress.
The GFP is an ally of the ruling BJP in the coastal state.
The BJP, which is facing a fight to retain the seat which Parrikar had represented since he was first elected in 1994, is yet to finalise its candidate.

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First Published: Apr 27 2019 | 3:05 PM IST

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