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Checkmate: BJP changed gears, decided to back Avertano after MGP took the plunge

Will the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party’s (MGP) decision to field a candidate for the Navelim seat weigh heavily on the mind of BJP top brass to once again back Independent MLA Avertano Furtado against State Congress president Luizinho rnFaleiro in the February 4 election?

12th January 2017, 05:02 Hrs
the goan I network
MARGAO

A section of the party leadership is veering to the view that a division in the BJP vote-bank, assuming MGP makes a dent in the vote, will not help the party to effectively stop the return of the Congress president in Navelim after a gap of 
10 years. 
On the other hand, a section of local party workers, however, are of the firm view that the party should field a candidate in the coming election, saying a vertical division in the non-BJP vote may benefit the party.
Local BJP leaders have all along been rooting to go alone in the February 4 election on grounds that the party has reached a stage in the once Congress stronghold to field a candidate on the party banner. 
Local leaders have been apparently banking on the 6,000-odd vote bank to keep the party in good stead, assuming that the non-BJP votes would get divided amongst a host of players.
Till a week ago, the BJP leadership were all ready to go alone as evident by the fact that the party leadership even announced its decision to contest in 37 Assembly seats, while remaining three seats of Benaulim, Nuvem and Velim to 
Independents. 
However, MGP’s decision to field a rebel BJP candidate Satyavijai Naik for the Navelim seat seems to have made the party top brass to re-consider its earlier decision to go alone in the constituency.
BJP President Vijay Tendulkar, who was holed up in Delhi on Wednesday, told The Goan that the party will take a final call on Navelim on Thursday. 
“Though the party had initially announced the decision to contest from Navelim, discussions are still on how to go about in the constituency. A final decision will come by Thursday,” Tendulkar said.
In the 2007 and 2012 Assembly election, the BJP did not field candidates, and as a strategic move had instead supported anti-Congress candidates to send former Chief Minister Luizinho Faleiro (2007) and former PWD Minister Churchill Alemao (2012) packing home.
Incidentally, Independent MLA and Fisheries Minister Avertano Furtado, who benefitted greatly from 
the strategic tie-up with the BJP in 2012, said he would welcome the BJP support, but has rejected outright the offer to join the ruling BJP party. “I am ready to accept support from the BJP or any other party. I am confident of retaining the Navelim seat,” 
he added.

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