Though Utpal Parrikar, the son of the late chief minister and defence minister Manohar Parrikar, had clearly expressed his wish to contest from his father’s constituency Panjim, his name was prominently missing from the BJP’s first list of 34 candidates released on Thursday (January 20) in the upcoming Goa assembly elections.
Earlier, Utpal had already hit out at the BJP for indicating that they were going to give the Panaji constituency to three-time MLA and former Congressman, Atanasio Babush Monserrate. He asked pointedly whether a person with “criminal antecedents” should represent the constituency of the late Manohar Parrikar? Utpal was clearly referring to Monserrate, who is a rape accused.
According to media reports, Utpal Parrikar is reportedly insistent that he will contest from Panaji and has refused the BJP’s offer of two other seats. “I will clear my stand soon,” he told reporters, said media reports.
However, the BJP’s stand is that Utpal has been given him two options, out of which he has rejected one. Talks are on to convince him to take the other seat, said Devendra Fadnavis, the former chief minister of Maharashtra and BJP’s Goa in-charge for the assembly polls.
Though Fadnavis has been saying that the BJP has always given respect to the Parrikar Parivar, he also remarked that being Manohar Parrikar’s son is not sufficient to earn a ticket from the BJP. But the BJP clearly did not put ‘Family First’ in his case, but has followed that principle in giving a ticket for Babush Monseratte’s wife Jennifer to contest from the Taleigao constituency.
On January 16, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant however had said the BJP’s central leadership will resolve the contentious issue with Utpal Parrikar. He had added that the BJP leadership is fully aware that Utpal wishes to contest from Panjim Assembly constituency and they are in touch with him to find a solution.
But, even if the BJP has ostensibly shunned him, other parties jumped in to woo him. While Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal invited him to join the Aam Aadmi Party, Raut asked all the non-BJP parties to back Utpal’s bid for the polls.
Kejriwal tweeted that Goans feel very sad that BJP has adopted use-and-throw policy even with the Parrikar family. “I have always respected Manohar Parrikar ji. Utpal ji is welcome to join and fight elections on AAP ticket,” Kejriwal said in his tweet.
While Raut tweeted that if Utpal Parrikar contests as an Independent from Panaji seat, he urged all non-BJP parties including AAP, the Congress, AITC and Goa Forward Party to support his candidature & not field a candidate against him. “This will be a true tribute to ManoharBhai!” tweeted Raut.
Manohar Parrikar, a three-time Goa Chief Minister and the BJP’s top leader in the seaside state died in office in 2019. He held the Panaji constituency for 25 years. His lifelong rival, the former Congress man Babush Monserrate, who had joined the BJP in 2019, has now been assigned his constituency over his son.
Utpal Parrikar, an engineering graduate, has been preparing himself for the Panaji contest and had already contacted the people in the constituency.