Lawyer, social worker and AAP’s chief ministerial face: Meet Amit Palekar, Kejriwal’s condition to challenge BJP in Goa

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday announced senior advocate Amit Palekar as the chief ministerial face for Goa ahead of the upcoming elections.

Palekar belongs to the Bhandari community in Goa, which has one of the largest voter bases in the coastal state. Incidentally, last year, the Bhandari community in Goa had made it clear that it would extend its support to any political party that announced its chief ministerial candidate from its community.

With Palekar now being proposed as its chief ministerial face, the AAP has taken a strategic move to woo the Bhandari community.

When Palekar joined AAP on October 21, 2021, he said the party’s ideology was similar to his faith and hence, joining the army was not too difficult. Although Palekar claims that he is not from a political background, his mother has been the sarpanch of Merces village for 10 years.

After joining the AAP, Palekar came into limelight when he went on an indefinite hunger strike in Old Goa, an important heritage and holy site, near which an alleged illegal construction was going on without permission.

There are many churches around the UNESCO World Heritage Site and the response was drawn from people of all faiths. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had then tweeted: “Really proud of you for standing up against those trying to destroy Goa. You are risking your life to save Old Goa. I will pray for you and the thousands of others who are fighting to save the old Goa heritage site.”

Palekar continued his hunger strike until the local panchayat revoked all the alleged illegal permissions given for the construction, though the structure is yet to be demolished. Palekar’s young daughter offering a glass of water to her father as he broke his fast was an instant hit, with the AAP considering it as the first major victory against the ruling BJP government.

Palekar, who hails from the St. Cruz constituency, recently tried to uncover an alleged job recruitment scam at the Government Goa Medical College (GMC) in Bambolim. He challenged Goa Health Minister and BJP leader Vishwajit Rane for an open debate. Palekar alleged that around ninety percent of job recruitments in GMC were based on recruitment of incompetent employees, either through favoritism or bribery. This move also caught his attention.

Palekar was also one of the litigants who had approached the Bombay High Court (Goa Bench) after 47 people lost their lives due to alleged lack of oxygen during the second wave of Covid-19. After some time the government had to intervene. He donated 185 medical beds to GMC in association with a charitable organization.

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