Veteran Congressman and Goa Assembly Speaker Pratapsinh Rane is subtly being promoted as the chief ministerial candidate by the Congress-NCP combine in the run-up to the March 3 Assembly polls.
In an apparent indication to this,Rane replaced Catholic leader from South Goa Mauvin Godinho as the campaign incharge for the elections.
Rane’s emergence on the poll scene is attributed to his role as a Speaker cum trouble-shooter for the Kamat government which has suffered many setbacks in the last five years since it assumed office.
Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) president Deepak Dhavlikar,a former ally of Congress,even accused the veteran politician of trying to hand-twist them to stay within the coalition by “keeping the sword of disqualification dangling on their neck”.
A petition regarding disqualification of MGP MLAs Sudin Dhavalikar and Deepak Dhavalikar is pending before the Speaker.
The 73-year-old war horse has served as state chief minister fo six times. Rane stepped down in 2007 owing to internecine conflicts in the Congress which had won hands down.
In an indication to the enormous clout Rane family wields in state politics,Rane’s son and minister Vishwajeet got eight tickets allotted to his favourites for 2012 elections.
“Vishwajit Rane has managed to get a larger share in the congress ticket allotment which means he will surely try to play a major role if his supporters are elected,” Goa BJP spokesman Vishnu Wagh said.
Political observers claim that the differences between Rane junior and Kamat began surfacing much before the election dates were announced.
A case in point is Kamat assuring agitating employees of Malaria eradication department of getting them justice in securing their jobs in the Health department headed by Vishwajeet Rane. However,Rane refused to pay heed to Kamat’s requests.
Alienating Kamat further,Congress poll managers have restricted his movements to his constituency. Moreover,the supporters of the chief minister were also denied tickets to contest polls.
In a major embarrassment for Kamat,the party refused to allot ticket to Vijay sardesai backed by him from Fatorda constituency.