Businessmen, not professionals, increasingly contesting Assembly polls

Reputed ever since liberation to return doctors, lawyers, teachers and other well-educated professionals to the Assembly, this time round it could find mining barons, barge owners, real estate builders, brokers, hoteliers and assorted businessmen making it to the legislature in Goa.

Two lawyers and three medical practitioners would appear to be the few professionals among the 215 candidates contesting the 40 State Assembly segments.

It is hardly surprising that with the parties increasingly thinking of “winnability” -- an euphemism for the spending capacity of candidates during elections -- as the criterion for doling out tickets, both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have given themaximum number of tickets to businessmen this time around.

Though a large number of Goa's Congressmen are known to be in real estate and mining through proxies, for the record they are all businessmen. Chief Minister Digambar Kamat is into real estate and trading, Speaker Pratapisinh Rane is in agriculture and poultry, his son and Health Minister Vishwajit Rane is in the agro-buisnesses, Goa Pradesh Congress president Subhash Shirodkar, who is contesting from Shirdoa, is a mining contractor, Francisco Silveira from St. Andre and Minister for Urban Development Joaquim Alemao are trawler owners. The Maharashtra Gomantak Party (MGP's) Ramakrishna Dhavlikar is a real estate contractor, his brother Deepak Dhavlikar has an engine oil agency and looks after Ramakrishna's agency business. An IIT graduate from Powai, Manohar Parrikar, BJP leader and Leader of Opposition has an engineering and tool making factory. BJP Goa president and candidate from Mandrem, Laxmikant Parsekar, is an agriculturist and a teacher.

A large number of the Congress and BJP-MGP candidates are also from mining related businesses, real estate and contracting.