Goa minister says his wife will ‘most certainly’ contest state polls from Siolim
Goa minister Michael Lobo has unilaterally announced that his wife, Delilah Lobo, would most likely contest the assembly polls from Siolim amid growing discord within the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party
Goa minister Michael Lobo has unilaterally announced that his wife, Delilah Lobo, would “most certainly” contest the assembly polls from Siolim amid growing discord within the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of the polls due in the state next year.
He has also backed Congress leader Sudhir Kandolkar saying the latter would win irrespective of the ticket he contests on. Lobo did not specify whether he will seek BJP tickets for his wife or Kandolkar but said he would only be backing them.
Lobo’s announcement came even as state BJP president Sadanand Shet Tanavade has repeatedly asked ticket aspirants to respect the party’s internal processes. “I have spoken on this issue. There is nothing new to add. I do not wish to comment further.”
Tanavade earlier said the ticket distribution process involves a recommendation from the state unit to the national parliamentary board, which takes a final decision. “Until that process is completed, no person can decide for himself that he is contesting on a BJP ticket,” Tanavade said earlier.
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Former BJP lawmaker Dayanand Mandrekar, who lost from Siolim in 2017, is believed to be keen on getting the BJP ticket for the seat for himself or his son.
Former chief minister and BJP leader Laxmikant Parsekar, who is hoping to contest from Mandrem constituency, faces a challenge from Dayanand Sopte, who currently represents the seat. Sopte “officially” launched his campaign with BJP flags for his re-election. He contested against Parsekar in 2017 on a Congress ticket. He later resigned, joined the BJP, and was re-elected.
Lobo has insisted his wife and Kandolkar will win. “I think that this time 100% the people will get them elected. Delilah will contest from Siolim with the blessings of the people,” Lobo said on Wednesday. On Thursday, Lobo said certain lawmakers have not performed without naming anyone. “People of Goa want good candidates so that their issues are addressed and solved whether it is water or electricity. Today people are fighting for basic necessities. These are good candidates. People across Goa are looking for good candidates.”
He added the lawmakers are unavailable to the people. “I am not asking for tickets for anybody. I am saying good candidates should be given tickets; these are our names. Let us see which party later,” Lobo said.
Lobo said his wife herself decided to contest from Siolim and that the initial feedback was positive. He added this is what prompted him to decide he would back her irrespective of what the BJP may have to say.
Kandolkar, whom Lobo is backing in Mapusa, is a former BJP member. He was close to former deputy chief minister Francis D’Souza, who passed away in 2019. In the by-election necessitated by D’Souza’s death, the BJP fielded his son, Joshua, and prompted Kandolkar to join the Congress and contest from Mapusa. Joshua won with a smaller margin.
Kandolkar said he expected a Congress ticket and welcomed Lobo’s support.
Congress’s Agnelo Fernandes, who has earlier represented Lobo’s Calangute constituency, said he would “fight the forces out to destroy Goa”. He accused Lobo of being in cahoots with the “builder and casino lobby”.
The BJP, which seeks to retain power in the state, has 27 lawmakers in the 39-member House while the Congress has four, Goa Forward three, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and Nationalist Congress Party one each. There are three independents in the House.