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Goa's prodigal son is making waves
Rupesh Samant in Valpoi | May 24, 2007 15:09 IST
Goa Chief Minister Pratap Singh Rane's son Vishwajeet, who had rebelled against his father, has said that he will support the Congress in the coming Assembly polls.
Vishwajeet, who had maintained that he would contest as an independent from Valpoi constituency, said: "I am a Congressman. I will support the Congress during and after the elections."
Vishwajeet is a former Goa pradesh Congress committee general secretary.
The Congress candidate, Laxman Sanvordekar, who had filed his candidature against Vishwajeet, withdrew at the last minute, putting the Congress in an awkward situation.
"He withdrew bowing down to public pressures. I did not ask him to withdraw. People felt that only I can deliver goods in this constituency so they asked him to backtrack," Vishwajeet, who has become a face of the Congress in five constituencies of Bicholim and Sattari taluka, said during a rally.
Poriem, a constituency bordering Valpoi, has Chief Minister Pratapsingh Rane contesting on a Congress ticket.
"My father is a loyal Congressman. He will never canvass for me because I am not a Congress candidate," Vishwajeet said replying to a question.
"I am feeling a little funny that this is my first elections and I am fighting it without having my father on my side," Vishwajeet said.
Though the Congress has not formally accepted Vishwajeet's support for campaigning, he has created a wave of sorts in remote Bicholim and Sattari talukas.
"We don't need any national leaders. People gather when they know that Vishwajeet is coming," Gurudas Gauns, a Congress candidate from Pale constituency in Bicholim, told reporters.
True to Gauns' claim, every rally addressed by Vishwajeet is getting overwhelming response.
Asked whether he will win the election without a party ticket, Vishwajeet said: "My identity as a son of chief minister is enough. I don't need a party symbol to contest election in Valpoi.
"I will support the Pratapsingh Singh Rane-led coalition government after the elections," Vishwajeet said, pointing out that his father is the only loyal Congressman in the party. "You check the record of the rest of the people. They have defected at least once," he said.
While Vishwajeet is seen on Congress platform publicly, the Congress party officials have refused to comment on the issue. Right from day one, the party has avoided comments on Vishwajeet's resignation and subsequent happenings.
"Vishwajeet is a major factor in Valpoi and Sattari which has five constituencies. The party cannot ignore him," Gauns said.
As the June 2 deadline draws near, the Congress leaders have begun sharing dais with Vishwajeet, which clearly indicates there consent to Jr Rane's candidature.