Two new faces, 2 defectors in Congress list for Goa

February 4th, 2012 - 5:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Panaji, Feb 4 (IANS) The Congress Saturday released a list of 22 candidates for the March 3 polls in Goa to elect a 40-member assembly.

The list contains only two new faces - one a tribal and the other a non-ethnic settler. The party’s 18 sitting legislators and two others who are former legislators from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and quit that party last year also have been fielded.

Interestingly, the list which has been endorsed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi has no women candidate.

The only sitting woman legislator from the Congress, Victoria Fernandes from the St Cruz constituency, has been dropped and the ticket given to controversial education minister Atanasio Monserrate, who has been indicted in the Income Tax report for receiving kickbacks to the tune of Rs.26.5 lakh.

“There might be surprises in the next half of the list,” state Congress president Subhash Shirodkar told reporters at a press conference, when asked why women had not been given adequate representation in the candidates’ list despite repeated assurances by party leaders.

Shirodkar, Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and assembly Speaker Pratapsing Rane have been granted the party tickets, respectively from Shiroda, Margao and Poriem.

The Congress has also decided to break the convention of not granting more than one ticket for one family — it has fielded Public Works Department Minister Churchill Alemao from Navelim and his brother, Urban Development Minister Joaquim Alemao from Cuncolim.

The speaker’s son Vishwajeet Rane has been allotted the Valpoi constituency.

After the 2007 assembly polls, Churchill Alemao had merged his Save Goa Front party into the Congress, and Vishwajeet Rane had won the last assembly seat as an Independent.

Two former BJP legislators Dayanand Sopte (Pernem) and Rajesh Patnekar (Bicholim), who quit that party last year and were promised Congress tickets for the 2012 polls, have been accommodated in the list.

The Congress has arguably for the first time awarded a ticket to a non-ethnic Goan, Yatin Parekh, to contest from Panaji. The party has also awarded ticket to Caetano Xavier, the party’s only Scheduled Tribes candidate and the only other new face in the party’s first list.

The Congress, which has entered into a pre-poll alliance with the Nationalist Congress party (NCP), is expected to announce soon the names of candidates it would field.

“The remaining list may be out by tonight (Saturday night) or tomorrow (Sunday),” Shirodkar said, adding that the NCP will be given about seven seats.

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