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Congress in a fix in Goa as veteran Pratapsingh Rane hints at retirement

Pratapsingh Rane

Pratapsingh Rane

Days after the Congress’ central election committee approved his candidature from the Poriem Assembly seat in north Goa, veteran Congressman and 11-time MLA Pratapsingh Rane on Wednesday hinted at ‘retiring’ from active politics. He stressed the need for the youth to take the party forward in the poll-bound coastal State.

Mr. Rane’s remarks, which came on the occasion of the Congress’ 137th Foundation Day celebrations in Panjim, are likely to put the battered Goa Congress — which has atrophied to just two MLAs, one of whom is Mr. Rane — in a fix as it would have to hunt for suitable new candidates in a diminishing pool.

‘Need to take rest’

“I have completed nearly 50 years in politics. The time has come for me to take rest. I strongly feel that I should now take rest and give a chance to the youth,” said the former Chief Minister and incumbent legislator of Poriem.

Remarking that Goa was a progressive State, Mr. Rane underscored the importance of encouraging the youth.

The Congress’ decision to field the stalwart, Mr. Rane — who has been Goa’s longest serving Chief Minister — came after his son, BJP leader and Minister Viswajit Rane, had said he would contest against his father and defeat him by a wide margin.

However, after the party had approved of his candidature on December 22, the senior Rane denied that the Congress central election committee had finalised his nomination.

Reluctant to contest

According to informed sources, the 82-year-old Mr. Rane, who has kept away from active politics for a while now, has been reluctant to contest the polls this time.

Earlier, Mr. Viswajit Rane had urged his father to “gracefully retire” from the political arena, claiming that he had lost connect with the younger voters. The younger Rane expressed confidence of winning the Poriem seat by a margin of at least 10,000 votes, while claiming that his father was ‘pressured’ into contesting by the Congress high command.

Poriem and Valpoi form part of the verdant Sattari sub-district, which has been the virtual fiefdom of the prominent Rane clan and where Mr. Pratapsingh Rane still retains an overwhelming influence, having won every Assembly election since 1972.

While his son Mr. Vishwajit Rane was initially with the Congress, the younger Rane, who has represented the Valpoi Assembly seat since 2007, switched sides to join the BJP after the 2017 Assembly election.

Since then, the BJP has steadily exerted its influence under Viswajit’s leadership in Valpoi and Poriem.

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Printable version | May 23, 2022 9:08:30 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/congress-in-a-fix-as-veteran-rane-hints-at-retirement/article38067451.ece