Despite BJP’s 'one family, one candidate’ policy, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has awarded tickets to close family members of party leaders to contest the February 14 Assembly election in Goa, deviating from its stand against dynastic politics.
BJP's Goa election in-charge Devendra Fadnavis attributed it to "occupational hazards in politics" while addressing the media after declaring the first list of candidates.
In the BJP's first list of 34 candidates released on Thursday, the party has given a ticket to two couples – Health minister Vishwajit Rane from Valpoi, his wife Deviya Rane from Poriem and Revenue minister Jennifer Monserrate from Taleigaon and her husband Panaji MLA Atanasio alias Babush Monserrate.
Jennifer Monserrate and Deviya Rane are the only two women candidates among the 34 names.
While BJP had accused former minister Micheal Lobo, who recently joined the Congress, of having “selfish interests” because he sought a ticket for himself and his wife, the ruling has given a ticket to the wives of BJP MLAs.
Fadnavis said that Babush Monserrate and his wife had both won elections and come to the BJP. "Jennifer Monserrate has her own identity and is a minister in the BJP government," he said.
Defending the party's decision to field Deviya Rane, Fadnavis said, “As far as Vishwajit Rane is concerned, he resigned, contested an election from BJP and won and the Poriem seat was Pratap Singh Raneji’s seat. For 50 years, he has won the seat from Congress. We had requested Pratap Singh Rane Ji this time that since Congress is a declining party and it cannot do good for the country, he should give his seat to the BJP. So either you contest from the BJP or you help the BJP. He agreed at the time and said that his age is advancing so he may not contest and Deviya Rane will contest.
In Poriem, former chief minister and veteran Congress leader Pratap Singh Rane has been winning the Poriem seat for more than 50 years. Earlier, His son Vishwajit Rane, BJP MLA and Goa health minister had said he would contest in Poriem and defeat his father in the upcoming election if he did not choose retirement from politics.
At the same time, BJP has ticket from Panaji to Utpal Parrikar, son of late defence minister and former Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar.
“We have given the ticket to the sitting MLA. Utpal Parrikar and Parrikarji’s family is our family. They are very close to us. We gave Utpal Parrikar two more options from where he can contest. He has refused one and discussions about the other are going on with him. We all feel he should agree. The Parrikar family will always be respected by the BJP,” Fadnavis said.
Utpal is keen to contest from the Panaji and had earlier questioned the party’s decision to give his father’s seat to a candidate with “criminal antecedents”
In the 2017 Assembly polls, Congress had won 17 seats in the tiny coastal state to emerge as the single largest party. However, the BJP, which was in second place in terms of seats, quickly stitched an alliance with smaller parties and Independent MLAs to form its government in Goa.
The election for the 40 seats will take place on February 14, and the ballots will be counted on March 10.