Panaji, Oct 11 (UNI) Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) president Francisco Sardinha and former minister Wilfred Mesquita were the likely candidates of the Congress and BJP respectively to contest the October 30 by-elections to Mormugao Parliamentary constituetncy.
The formal announcement of the candidates would be made officially by the respective party leaderships in New Delhi either tonight or tomorrow, the last date for filing of nominations.
Mr Sardinha, the former chief minister, speaker and MP, became the GPCC president after he was defeated from his own constituency Curtorim, one of the segments under Mormugao LS constituency by his rival Save Goa Front candidate Laurenco.
AICC general secretary in-charge of Goa Desk B K Hari Prasad had earlier conveyed the consensus opinion of the party leaders on the choice of the Congress candidate after the two-day discussion he had with them here.
Mr Sardinha was shortlisted as the immediate choice, after PWD Minister and SGF chief Churchill Alemao failed to bring about merger of his party with the Congress today as a precondition for offering the ticket to the latter's advocate daughter Ms Valanka.
The by-election was caused due to resignation of Congress rebel Mr Alemao in May. He formed his own regional outfit the SGF in a bid to form the government after the June 2 elections to the state assembly, but had to content himself with only two seats, including his.
He later joined Congress-led Digambar Kamat government as the minister, after deserting the BJP-led Goa Democratic Alliance (GDA), on the condition that the Congress would give the ticket to his daughter and he would merge the SGF with the Congress in return.
Mr Alemao, however, retracted today, saying there was no such condition of merger and it was only a pretext to deny ticket to his daughter.
Peeved at the anti-party activities of Mr Alemao for his personal and family gains against the very ideology of the party and its cause, its founder president Sidhanath Bouyao and general secretary-cum-strategist Dr Mesquita quit the outfit last week.
Both were formally admitted to the BJP at a function at Margao, commercial city of Goa, this evening in the presence of the state unit chief MP Shripad Naik, and the BJP opposition leader Manohar Parrikar.
The constituency, which also represents Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, is liklely to witness a straight contest between the Congress and the BJP rival. Both the candidates will file their nomination papers tomorrow.