PANAJI: Former Goa RSS chief Subhash Velingkar, who groomed top state BJP leaders for decades including late Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, on Friday announced his candidature for the Panaji Assembly by-election.
Addressing a press conference here, Velingkar, who also mentors the regional Goa Suraksha Manch party, said his campaign for the May 19 polls would focus on providing basic amenities for Panaji while also promising a crackdown on the casino industry, which operates out of Panaji.
"The Manch has urged me to campaign to deliver the state capital from the clutches of the BJP, which has crossed all limits of corruption," Velingkar said.
Velingkar, had been heading the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh for decades until 2016 when he was sacked from the organisation after he ran a sustained campaign against late Chief Minister Parrikar, accusing the latter of working against the interests of the people of Goa.
Velingkar then formed a parallel Sangh organisation in Goa, while also mentoring the new political party, which has fielded three candidates for the recently concluded by-elections to three Assembly constituencies of Mapusa, Mandrem and Shiroda.
He is also regarded in state political circles as the mentor of Parrikar, former Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, Union Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik and a string of other Bharatiya Janata party leaders, who reported to him as the state RSS chief in the decades leading to 2016.
In his press conference on Friday, Velingkar also said that he would be focussing on providing basic amenities like drinking water, good roads, transport for Panaji, while also promising a crackdown on the casino industry.
"The proliferation of casinos has led to an increase of drug use and prostitution in Goa and Panaji. This has to be stopped at any cost."
Velingkar, who has in the past been accused of criticising minority communities especially Christians who account for more than one fourth of the state's population, said that Christians were "blood brothers" of the Hindus in Goa.
"All I am saying is there should be equality for all. There should be no appeasement. Christians are our blood brothers in Goa," he added.