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Manohar Parrikar’s son Utpal, aide Sidharth Kuncalienkar in race for BJP ticket for Panaji bypoll

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The Goa BJP on Wednesday shortlisted the names of late Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s son Utpal and his aide Sidharth Kuncalienkar for the upcoming bypoll to the Panaji assembly seat, a top party leader said.

Talking to reporters after a meeting of the state Bharatiya Janata Party top brass, state party President Vinay Tendulkar said that the candidate for the May 19 Panaji bypoll will be finalised by Thursday evening.

“Our party workers have submitted two names, that of Utpal Parrikar and Sidharth Kuncalienkar for the Panaji by-elections. We will forward them to our party’s Central Election Committee. We expect to finalise the candidate by tomorrow (Thursday) evening,” he said.
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After Parrikar died on March 17, following a prolonged battle with pancreatic cancer, his elder son, Utpal, had said that he was “willing to take on any responsibility” which the BJP offers him.

On the other hand, Kuncalienkar has been a Parrikar aide for nearly a decade now and was chosen by him to contest the Panaji assembly seat, after Parrikar was inducted into Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet as Defence Minister in 2014. After Parrikar returned to state politics in 2017, Kuncalienkar resigned as MLA to allow Parrikar contest from the Panaji seat once again.

The Congress on Wednesday has already announced its candidate in the bypoll will be former Education Minister Atanasio Monserrate.

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Trump knew exactly what was going on: Giuliani aide

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Washington: An aide to Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, has said that the US President “knew exactly what was going on” regarding efforts to pressure Ukraine into investigating Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, it was reported on Thursday.

Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnass, who is facing separate criminal charges, made the comments in an interview with MSNBC on Wednesday after letters, phone records, notes and flash drives were obtained from him earlier this week, the BBC said in a report.

Documents show that the Ukraine-born Parnas was in regular contact with Giuliani as well as Ukrainian officials, and suggests that the businessman was directly involved in trying to have Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky look into the Bidens.

In the interview, Parnas said Trump was “aware of all my movements”.

“I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the President. Why would President Zelensky’s inner circle or (Interior) Minister (Arsen) Avakov or all these people or (former) President (Petro) Poroshenko meet with me?

“Who am I? They were told to meet with me. And that’s the secret that they’re trying to keep. I was on the ground doing their work,” he added.

Parnas further said that the President was lying and knew that unless there was an investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who was a director of a Ukrainian gas company, military aid to Kiev would be withheld.

He also claimed that the investigation was about digging up dirt on Joe Biden.

Meanwhile, some of the materials obtained show Parnas and Giuliani discussing the removal of Marie Yovanovitch, the then US ambassador to Ukraine, said the BBC report.

In Wednesday’s interview, Parnas claimed the only motivation to get Yovanovitch removed from her post was because she was in the way of the effort to get Ukraine to announce an investigation into Joe Biden.

Trump was impeached by the Democrat-controlled US House of Representatives on December 18, 2019 and is accused of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The two articles of impeachment were sent to the Republican-majority Senate on Wednesday night, paving the way for the starting of a trial against the President.

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