Mapusa bypoll: BJP shortlists Joshua D'Souza, son of Goa's ex deputy CM Francis D'Souza
The BJP has shortlisted the names of Joshua D'Souza, son of Goa's late Deputy Chief Minister Francis D'Souza, and another party leader Sudhir Kandolkar for next month's Mapusa Assembly bypoll.
A number of BJP leaders as well as ruling allies are particularly rooting for Joshua D'Souza. The by-election to this Assembly constituency in North Goa was necessitated following the demise of Francis D'Souza, a BJP MLA, last month. Apart from Mapusa, bypolls will also be held in Mandrem and Shiroda constituencies in Goa.
Party sources confirmed that the names of Joshua D'Souza and another leader Sudhir Kandolkar have been shortlisted and sent to Delhi for final decision. Kandolkar is currently the chairman of Mapusa Municipal Council and one of the longest serving politicians in this civic body. He was a close aide of Francis D'Souza.
Talking to reporters on Thursday, Goa Deputy Speaker and BJP MLA Michael Lobo said, "I support Joshua as a candidate for the Mapusa by-election. I sympathise with him." "Joshua's father Francis D'Souza was the first minority leader to join the BJP in 1990s and he remained with the party till his death," he added.
The BJP has six MLAs belonging to the minority community. The saffron party has more number of Christian legislators than Congress in the state. A senior BJP leader said, "The candidature of Mapusa by-election is important from the Lok Sabha point of view.
The traditional vote bank of D'Souza will move with him and if Joshua is denied a ticket and if he moves to Congress, then the voting percentage in this constituency for Lok Sabha will have an adverse impact. BJP's alliance partner, Goa Forward Party (GFP), also supported Joshua for the bypoll.
"The legacy of Francis D'Souza should be carried forward...His son will carry it forward and we are backing him in it," GFP president and Deputy Chief Minister Vijai Sardesai said during the passage of condolence motion in the House on Wednesday.
Apart from the GFP, independent MLA Rohan Khaunte also extended his support to D'Souza. When contacted, Joshua said he was confident of getting his party's ticket for the bypoll.
"I have been with the party and I have been working for the constituency along with my father...In case I fail to get a ticket, I will have to decide," he said. When contacted, Kandolkar said, "I am with the party in its decision over the ticket allocation and I will abide by whatever it decides for me."