Panaji: Five political families from Goa have cornered nearly one-third of Congress tickets for the March 3 assembly elections. And there's more to come. Two kins of Goa's cabinet ministers are likely to figure in Congress alliance partner Nationalist Congress Party's (NCP) ticket list expected to be released later this week.
Three Congress nominations have been given to the Alemao clan, namely Public Works Department Minister Churchill Alemao (Navelim), his brother and Urban Development Minister Joaquim Alemao (Cuncolim) and Churchill's daughter, a political debutante Valanka (Benaulim).
Sources in the NCP say Joaquim Alemao's son Yuri, also making his electoral debut, is the top contender for the party ticket to the Sanguem constituency. Tainted minister Atanasio Monserrate and his wife Jennifer have been granted the slips of paper to contest from St Cruz and Taleigaon constituencies respectively.
Former chief minister Pratapsing Rane and his son Vishwajeet will contest elections on the party ticket from Poriem and Valpoi constituencies respectively, while home minister Ravi Naik and his son Ritesh will contest from Ponda and Marcaim. Ravi's son Roy is also tipped to get the Mayem assembly seat from the NCP.
Former transport minister and Congress legislator Pandurang Madkaikar has also been awarded the ticket to contest from Cumbharjua, while his brother Dhaku will contest from Priol.
Currently from 33 seats (as per the Congress-NCP seat sharing arrangement, the latter is entitled to seven seats in the 40-member assembly) allotted to the Congress, 11 have already been grabbed by the 'families', constituting nearly 33.33 percent of the total seats available to the Congress.
Giriaj Pai Vernekar of Friends of Good Governance - which is pursuing ethical electoral practices - said the ticket distribution pattern in Goa was reflective of dynastic rule in the Congress.
"A party consisting of a super PM and PM-in-waiting cannot preach against tickets to members from the same family. India's governance has suffered because of this very reason. I am worried that Goa will embrace this trend. We are already being mis-governed. Our situation will only worsen," Giriraj said.
Fatima Pais, who originally hails from the Velim constituency in south Goa but works in a Delhi-based multinational corporation, calls the Congress ticket allotment exercise a farce and a mess.
The nepotism factor has already triggered an exodus of partymen from the Congress, some of them being Sameer Saogaonkar, an aspirant for the Mandrem seat from north Goa, Sanjay Bandekar who was vying for the Canacona seat from South Goa and Harish Zantye, who was angling for the Mayem assembly ticket.
"The party leadership in Delhi is being fed all sorts of nonsense by the local leadership. We are completely disillusioned by the way the tickets have been distributed," said Salgaonkar, who is a director in one of Goa's biggest mining outfits.
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