Panaji: Goa BJP Minister Vishwajit Rane on Tuesday publicly urged his father, Congress leader and former Chief Minister Pratapsingh Rane, to “retire gracefully from politics” and not contest from the Poriem Assembly seat, from where he has been undefeated for nearly 50 years.
He also said that in case his father does throw his hat in the ring once again on behalf of the Congress, he would contest from the same constituency on a BJP ticket and win by a margin of nearly 10,000 votes.
“My father will also have to think. At 83, why does he have to continue in politics? One should gracefully retire after becoming a CM for more than nine terms. A person who is my idol and someone I have so much respect for… that person should gracefully retire, not retire in the battlefield. It will be a very messy thing,” Vishwajit Rane said.
His comments came as his father announced that he would be contesting the 2022 state Assembly polls from his traditional bastion of Poriem.
“My workers have taken this decision (to contest), let us see what people say. Party leadership will eventually decide whether I should contest or not,” Rane Sr. said.
Viswajit Rane, however, claimed that his father had no connect with the voters of Poriem anymore because of a generational shift in the people in the area, located in north Goa.
“After so many years in politics, a decision should be made according to age. I have a suggestion for my father, at his age, do not contest. You have done a lot for Goa, but at the same time, there is a generational shift. I have been managing the constituency for 20 years, as a result of which I have informed my BJP leadership, I will contest from Poriem,” he said, adding that it was not “appropriate” on his father to contest the elections at his age.
He also said that state, and central Congress leaders and some “selfish persons” were pressuring his father to contest, adding that the Congress has been decimated in the Poriem constituency.
“The Congress is not in existence there. I have got the panchayat members elected. After 50 years, at the age of 83 I think one should retire gracefully. I had requested him. We had discussed this. But I feel that Congress central leaders and state leaders are pressuring him, which is why he made the statement.
“I will win the seat with a margin of at least 10,000. One of these old party workers must have approached him because of selfish reasons. This is not a father and son issue. It is a BJP versus Congress issue,” he said.
Incidentally, Rane was elected in the 2017 polls on a Congress ticket, before he quit the party to join the BJP in the same year.