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Goa Elections: Michael Lobo among richest candidates, CM Sawant’s assets rise 300 per cent

The news: Former BJP minister Michael Lobo, the richest MLA of the outgoing Goa legislative assembly, remains among the richest MLAs, with assets worth upwards of 84.387 crore, nearly doubling from the 49.47 crore he was worth in 2017, according to information gleaned from the affidavit submitted before the Election Commission.

Who’s who: Lobo, who defected from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and has been representing the Calangute constituency, arguably the epicentre of Goa’s beach-centric tourism industry, owns a slew of tourism properties, including starred hotels, entertainment venues, and clubs.

  • The majority of his assets are immovable assets worth 59.24 crore, up from 33.11 crore in 2017, while his moveable assets increased from 16.36 crore to 25.147 crore.
  • Delilah Lobo, the Congress candidate in the neighbouring Siolim constituency, has declared assets totalling 7.16 crore.

What’s going on: Over the last five years, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant’s assets have tripled from 2.37 crore to 7.15 crore, with his moveable assets increasing the most from 75.43 lakh to 3.47 crore.

  • The BJP’s Atanasio “Babush” Monserrate and his wife Jennifer Monserrate, who are running for office in Panaji and Taleigao, respectively, have declared that they jointly own assets worth 48.48 crore, with each claiming joint ownership of the assets in their possession. This is an increase of more than 18 crore from the 30.03 crore they shared in 2017.
  • Monserrate ran on a United Goans Party ticket in 2017, losing to BJP’s Siddharth Kuncaliencar, while his wife ran on a Congress ticket and won from the Taleigao constituency. Monserrate was elected from the Panaji constituency in a by-election in 2019 to fill the vacancy left by the death of Manohar Parrikar.
  • Other high-net-worth individuals contesting the upcoming assembly elections include Goa health minister Vishwajit Rane, who is worth 16.36 crore, his wife Deviya Rane, who is worth 6.76 crore; Goa Trinamool Congress (TMC) president Kiran Kandolkar, who is worth 6.69 crore, and his wife Kavita Kandolkar, who is also contesting on the All-India Trinamool Congress ticket. Interestingly, Kiran has declared ownership of a Yamaha RX 135 motorcycle, which he claims is worth $862, a significant decrease from the $3,325 he claimed it was worth in 2017.
  • Leader of the Opposition Digambar Kamat’s assets, on the other hand, have only increased marginally from 9.71 crore to 10.08 crore.
  • Manohar Parrikar’s son Utpal, who is running for the first time, has declared assets totaling 8.84 crore, while AAP chief ministerial candidate Amit Palekar, who is also running for the first time, has declared assets totaling 11.42 crore, including ownership of a Maserati Coupé luxury car registered in Jharkhand, which he says he is in the process of selling.
  • Vijai Sardesai, of Goa Forward, has declared individual assets worth 4.06 crore, not including his wife’s assets worth 31.09 crore, which include moveable assets worth 6.74 crore and immovable assets worth 24.35 crore.
  • “A combination of muscle power and money power has become a perfect recipe for winning assembly elections.” It is worth noting that Goa had only 6 candidates (out of 249) in 2017 with declared wealth of more than 10 crores and serious criminal cases against them. “All six were elected to the assembly by the voters,” said Bhasker Assoldekar, Goa State Coordinator for the Association of Democratic Reforms.

In 2007, only 55 per cent of Goa’s MLAs were crorepatis, a figure that rose to 93 per cent in 2012 and reached 100 per cent at the time of the 2017 assembly elections.

For the upcoming Goa assembly elections, a total of 587 candidates, including dummies, have filed their nominations. The nominations will be reviewed on January 29, with the deadline for withdrawal set for January 31.

Goa will vote in a single phase on February 14, along with Uttarakhand, which will also vote on the same day.

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