An interesting aspect of the assembly elections in Goa today is the fight among families in the Congress and BJP. As the Congress handed tickets to couple Michael Lobo and his wife Delilah, the BJP, which initially stated that only one member of each family will be considered for election, caved in and confirmed tickets to Atanasio Monserratte from Panaji Assembly constituency and to his wife, Jeniffer, from Taleigao seat.
Not just one, but BJP also offered tickets to Health Minister Vishwajit Rane from Valpoi Assembly segment, while his wife Deviya Rane, who is contesting her maiden election, will be fighting from Poriem constituency on BJP ticket.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant defended the move saying, “we have given ticket to only one couple (Vishwajit and Deviya Rane). It was an exception as it was their family.” The Monserrattes are incumbent MLAs.
When did ‘Family Raj’ start in Goa?
Family raj in Goa started in 1967 when Dayanand Bandodkar, Goa’s first chief minister in 1963 contested and won from Marcaim while daughter Shashikala won from neighbouring Ponda, a Times of India report said. When five years later Bandodkar passed away while still in office, Shashikala became his successor.
Michael Lobo, who was with BJP, quit the party along woth his wife Delilah when it became clear that neither of them would be included on the BJP’s candidate list in January. Michael resigned as MLA and cabinet minister, and the husband-wife team is now running from Calangute and Siolim, respectively, from the Congress.
Congress was quick to welcome the Lobos with open arms and confirmed their tickets despite having a disastrous result in 2012 when it handed 12 tickets to six families. “This is not family raj. “My wife has been a sarpanch for 10 years and a panch member for another five (in Parra). She is on her own in politics. Except for two wards (in Siolim), I have not even campaigned there,” Lobo said, adding that he thinks a lot more women should get into social work and politics and “not just rely on your husband’s goodwill.”
Apart from the Congress and BJP, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) has fielded the Dhavalikar brothers, Ramkrishna and Pandurang. The Trinamool Congress (TMC) has, meanwhile, fielded a couple — Kiran and Kavita Kandolkar — and the father-daughter duo, Churchill and Valanka Alemao.
“I don’t know why everyone questions politicians, when it’s acceptable for a doctor to encourage his children to follow his footsteps,” said Churchill. Saying that Valanka took to politics on her own, he questioned, “What about Sonia Gandhi and Rahul? What about Uddhav Thackeray and his son (Adhitya)?”
Former state election commissioner Prabhakar Timble said family raj in politics is not restricted to Goa. “Earlier politics was like priesthood. Those interested in social service or helping the less privileged took to politics. Now politics has become scientifically-organised social business so politicians look at it in terms of investment and returns,” Timble was quoted by the Times of India as saying.
Polling began Monday morning in Goa, where 301 candidates are in the fray for the 40 Assembly seats. Voting began at 7 am and will conclude at 6 pm in the single-phase elections in the coastal state.
With inputs from News18