Relaxing with a cup of hot tea and his well-groomed cocker spaniel Bubbles at his feet, Goa’s longest-serving chief minister Pratapsingh Rane was all wit and smiles, a day after the assembly election results were declared.
News18 visited him at his luxurious and tastefully done up farmhouse in Sankhali, where he spoke about his five-decade-long political life, his son’s victory, love for riding horses and theatre. Pratapsingh Rane, 83, in late January this year decided it was “time to hang up his boots” and did not contest the election.
Had he chosen to fight on a Congress ticket from Poriem, the seat he has won continuously since 1990, he would have had to battle against his debutante daughter-in-law Deviya Rane from the Bharatiya Janata Party. Deviya won Poriem with a margin of 13,943 votes.
Sound advice from father to son
When asked about how he felt about his son Vishwajit Rane’s win in Valpoi as a BJP candidate, the senior Rane smiled, just as any proud father would.
“I am very happy for him. The people have trusted him and voted. So one should not forget that winning elections is not everything. One should also deliver the promises that have been made to the people,” he said.
Vishwajit resigned from the Congress in 2017 when it failed to form the government even after emerging as the single largest party in the assembly polls.
Pratapsingh Rane said that if Vishwajit is confident that he can believe in the ideology, he should go ahead with his political plans.
“It is not getting elected that counts, it is about delivering the goods. I have completed 50 years in politics and I feel this is very important. All I can say is one should not enforce one’s ideology on people, let people decide freely or they tend to revolt,” he told News18.com
‘We are not in earlier days’
Having spent more than five decades as part of the Congress, the veteran says that the party in the state and Centre has had many shortcomings.
According to Rane, the Congress should be more democratic now and “dynastic politics cannot go on”.
“We are not in the earlier days when dads could rule and then their son took over and then the grandson. Dynastic politics has come to stay in India due to our earlier times. The Congress needs to come out of this,” he said.
“Just because somebody belongs to a particular family, it does not mean he knows what people want. People elect you up there, you don’t inherit it. It helps to have (political) heritage but you can’t count on it fully,” he added.
When News18 asked whether the Congress being led by Sonia and Rahul Gandhi needs to be changed, he replied, “Time will tell.”
BJP’s hat-trick in Goa
In a first-of-its-kind decision, the Pramod Sawant-led BJP government granted Congressman Rane “lifelong cabinet status” in January this year. The move came a month before the state went to the polls. Sawant announced this decision by saying it was to honour Rane for his decades of service to the state.
Rane’s take on the BJP winning the polls for the third time was once again cautious and advisory in nature. He said that the party should be careful as to how it handles the electorate and not enforce its ideology on them.
“One should be gregarious with people, learn to listen to them and find solutions. I have nothing against the BJP or any other party, but they should see what people want, not what they want people to be,” he commented.
Horses for courses
Swerving swiftly away from politics, Rane then spoke about his desire to spend his time now watching Broadway plays.
“I have always loved travelling and watching theatre. It has been a passion of mine. I now plan to watch more,” he said while speaking of his younger days when he would watch Broadway plays in New York and go horse riding.
“I went to a military school in Pune and learnt horse riding there. So when I was in Texas, my friends were amazed to see me among the cowboys riding horses. I knew Portuguese and that helped me with a bit of Spanish and I managed to gel well with the Mexican population there,” Rane recalled.
The veteran politician feels that he is best suited now to taking care of his farmlands rather than being in active politics.
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