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Goa politics, a family affair

Mayuresh Pawar  |  Mumbai/ Panaji 

The 40-member - known for its switching loyalties overnight to bring in the new government - goes to the polls on June 2 with over 200 candidates in the fray. But, the irony is that many politicians switched sides after being denied tickets.
Goa is now witness to families trying to dominate the state politics. Some prominent politicians having failed to secure tickets for the family members have either quit the party, joined another party or are contesting as independents - the Ranes, Alemaos, Narvekars, Deshprabhus and Monserrates all have two members of the family contesting the assembly elections, not against each other but in different constituencies.
The Congress party policy of giving one ticket per family to contest elections in Goa has seen many a rebellion in the party ranks.
Says Manohar Parrikar, Opposition Leader and BJP's chief ministerial candidate: "The entire scenario has given this election a different 'color and outlook' for Goa's electioneering. You have Goa's chief minister (Pratapsingh Rane) contesting on the Congress ticket, while his son (Vishwajeet) contesting as an independent."
The younger Rane was denied a ticket from Valpoi by the Congress, while the father got the ticket from Poriem. Now his son Vishwajeet is contesting as an independent from Valpoi. "Vishwajeet's case is a peculiar one, he is the son of Chief Minister Pratapsingh Rane and was vying for the Congress ticket," adds the technocrat Parrikar.
Closer to the capital city here, in the suburb of Taleigao, former Town and Country Planning minister, Anastaisio alias Babush Monserrate created history by filling the nomination forms for two parties - Congress and United Goan Democratic Party (UGDP) - and then withdrawing his claim as a Congress candidate, thus leaving them with no candidate in the constituency to support but the independent, Somanth Zuwarkar, a former Congress MLA from the Taleigao constituency.
Babush's wife is fighting on the UDGP ticket against the three-time winner Victoria Fernandes of the Congress from Santa Cruz.
Babush blames Margaret Alva, in-Charge of Goa and Maharashtra. "The Congress party betrayed me, they had promised many things to us, but turned their back," he claimed.
The rebellion in the Congress over family members not getting a ticket did not end there, Information Technology minister, Dayanand Narvekar's brother Subash Narvekar is contesting on a Janata Dal (Secular) ticket from Mapusa. Dayanand is contesting from Aldona constituency.
Former Congress MP, Churchill Alemao is now fighting on the newly-formed political outfit, the Save Goa Front against the Congress candidate and Industries minister, Luizinho Faliero in the Navelim Constituency. While Churchill's younger brother Joaquim is contesting on the Congress ticket from Cuncolim.
"Most of the old faces are steeped in corruption. Can the Congress provide a clean and efficient government with the same corrupt faces," said Churchill.
Congress observer for the Goa polls Sanjay Nirupam conceded that things went to the extent of some rebel leaders questioning the Gandhi family's authority. "They wanted to know why the family continues to get two nominations. The Gandhi family is an exception and no one should question the party leadership's authority," Nirupam added.
Former Goa Pradesh Congress Committee chief is contesting as an independent with the BJP alliance in the Cumbharjua constituency.
Interestingly, two brothers-in-law Pradeep Dessai and Vinay Tendulkar are in opposite camps and fighting for the Sanvordem seat.
Dessai is contesting on a Congress ticket and trying to dethrone the sitting member of the assembly, his brother-in-law Vinay, who is contesting on the BJP ticket.

First Published: Fri, June 01 2007. 00:00 IST