Panaji, Mar 8: Ruling out chances of advancing Assembly polls in Goa, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar today said it is for the BJP leadership to decide who should lead the party next time and rejected suggestions that defeat in the Panaji City Corporation elections was a setback for the party.
"The elections will not be held this year. They will be either in second-half of February or first-half of March next year," Parsekar told PTI in an interview on the eve of completion of four years of the BJP-led government in Goa.
After winning the polls on March 9, 2012, Manohar Parrikar became the chief minister of the state and Parsekar succeeded him after his elevation as the Defence Minister at the Centre in November, 2014. Responding to a query on the leadership issue, Parsekar said it is for the party to decide who should be the next chief ministerial face in Goa.
"I have nothing to do with it. It will be party's strategy," he said. "I am running the government which was formed on the mandate given to Manohar Parrikar. Though the party got the majority, we had projected Parrikar as legislative party leader during 2012 polls," he said.
"Now I feel that during 2017 polls, it is my responsibility to secure the same mandate for the party," Parsekar said. On the BJP's defeat in Corporation of City of Panaji (CCP) polls, the results of which were declared today, he said he did not consider it as a setback to the party.
The BJP candidates were outsmarted by nominees fielded by expelled Congress legislator Atanasio Monserratte, who secured a clear majority in the 30-member civic body.
The CCP, which covers Goa's capital city of Panaji, was ruled by the BJP-led council prior to the elections on March 6. Monserratte's panel won 17 wards, while BJP managed victory only in 13 seats and the Congress, which had fielded candidates in nine wards, drew a blank.
"The CCP poll results are not a setback for the party. We have maintained our numbers. We had 13 corporators in the earlier council and we have retained it," Parsekar said. The BJP had controlled the council by joining hands with various smaller groups (independents).
He also said the result will not have any impact on Panaji Assembly segment, which was earlier held by Parrikar and is now represented by Siddharth Kuncolienkar of the BJP.
"Siddharth did a good job, especially when Parrikar is busy in Delhi. I congratulate him," Parsekar said. Monserratte, however, said the civic body results indicated that the voters want a "BJP-mukt" (free from BJP) Goa.