PANAJI: BJP has been left in an embarrassing position in its stronghold of Bicholim after party’s sitting MLA and speaker Rajesh Patnekar decided not to contest and two others whom the party approached, also refused its offer.
‘’I have informed the party that I do not want to contest the election on health grounds. Whichever candidate is given the party’s ticket, I will whole-heartedly work for him,” Patnekar told TOI.
After Patnekar conveyed to the party his unwillingness to contest the assembly elections scheduled on February 14, BJP approached two others— independent candidate Dr Chandrakant Shetye and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) probable candidate Naresh Sawal—to contest on a BJP ticket, but they too declined the party’s offer.
CM Pramod Sawant and party general secretary (organisation) Satish Dhond tried to convince Sawal to switch over from MGP, while state BJP president Sadanand Shet Tanavade tried to get Shetye into the party.“I have refused BJP’s offer as I do not want to spoil my image. I will be with the people of Bicholim,” Sawal told TOI.
Shetye, too, rebuffed the offer to contest as a BJP candidate after consultations with his supporters.
With no other takers for the party’s candidature, former zilla panchayat member Shilpa Naik has become the frontrunner to contest on a BJP ticket.