Stage set for crucial Goa by-polls

| 01 June 2005 19:08 IST

The stage is set for Thursday's crucial by-polls to five assembly constituencies in Goa.

The by-polls in the five constituencies # Taleigao, Cambarjua, Benaulim, Margoa and Poinguinim # were necessitated following the resignation of five Bharatiya Janata Party legislators in January this year, reducing the then Manohar Parrikar government to a minority.

he state was placed under the President's rule when the opposition Congress could not muster the required numbers to form a government.

The results of Thursday's by-polls could renew the race for government formation.

The state has been witness to a lot of political turmoil with parties and coalitions with wafer-thin majorities forming governments.

An estimated 1.16 lakh voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in Thursday's elections. They will decide the fate of 22 candidates, including former BJP ministers Atabasio Monseratte, Digambar Kamat and Pandurang Madkaikar, who are contesting the by-polls on a Congress ticket.

On May 26, the Panaji Bench of the Bombay high court set aside the election of two BJP MLAs # Rajendra Arlekar from Vasco and Dayanand Mandrekar from Siolim # on the grounds that the two held 'offices of profit' during the May 2002 assembly polls.

With this, BJP's tally in the assembly fell to 14 MLAs in a House of 34. The BJP enjoys the support of one United Goans Democratic Party MLA.

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