Congress releases first list of candidates in Goa

Panaji: Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and all Congress members in his cabinet figure in the party`s first list of 22 candidates for the March 3 Assembly polls announced here today.

The list contains two new faces but the party has sprung a surprise by denying ticket to Victoria Fernandes, the Congress` lone woman MLA.

Goa Pradesh Congress Committee President Subhash Shirodkar said the second and final list of names of 11 nominees would be announced tomorrow. The party, heading a coalition government in the coastal state, is contesting in 33 out of the total 40 seats. He said Congress has almost finalised its pre-poll alliance with NCP which will be fighting on seven seats.

Assembly Speaker Pratapsinh Rane and Shirodkar figure in the list. Goa has nine Congress Ministers, including the Chief Minister. Two former BJP legislators – Dayanand Sopte and Rajesh Patnekar – who have joined Congress, have been given ticket from their respective constituencies.

Fernandes, a veteran Congress member, is the MLA from St Cruz, a constituency from where controversial Minister Atanasio Monserratte has been fielded this time.
The candidate for Taleigao segment, now represented by Monserratte, has not been announced. Party sources said Monserratte`s wife, Jeniffer, would be given ticket there.

Goa Congress campaign manager Mauvin Godinho said the party after considering various factors, including winnability, decided to refuse ticket to Fernandes. She may be suitably accommodated if the party returns to power, he said.

The party has fielded city Mayor Yatin Parekh from Panaji where he will cross swords with BJP veteran and former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.