Day after quitting BJP, Utpal Parrikar vows to exit poll race if party fields ‘good candidate’ from Panaji
Elder son of former Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar, Utpal Parrikar compared denial of ticket from Panaji to 2019 by-polls that was facilitated after his father passed away. He added that the saffron party had brushed him off even then but he “respected” the decision.
A day after resigning from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), son of late Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar, Utpal Parrikar said on Saturday that the decision was "most difficult" to take. He added that he will withdraw from the race if the saffron party fields a “good candidate” from the Panaji constituency for the Goa assembly elections, according to PTI. Notably, Utpal on Friday announced he will contest the upcoming elections as an independent candidate after being denied ticket from Panaji.
The Panaji seat was the stronghold of Manohar, and his elder son Utpal was striving for the same for a long time. However, the BJP snubbed him after fielding Congress turncoat and the saffron party's sitting MLA Atanasio Monserrate from the constituency. Monserrate was among ten legislators who left the Congress party and joined the BJP in July 2019.
Utpal, however, reaffirmed his dedication for the saffron party, saying that the BJP is always in his heart and he is fighting for the party's soul, according to PTI.
“It was the most difficult decision. All this while I was hoping that I won't have to take such a decision,” he added.
Utpal also spilled some beans regarding the party denying him ticket. He compared the situation to 1994, when he claimed attempts were made to remove Manohar from the BJP. Utpal added that those attempts failed as his father "enjoyed the support of the people" and those who were behind the tactics currently hold “high positions” in the saffron party.
He also drew parallel with the 2019 by-polls in Panaji that was facilitated due to the death of Manohar, saying that the BJP had denied him ticket even then. “I believed in the party institution and respected the decision,” he was quoted as saying by PTI.
Throwing light on dynasty politics in Goa, which the BJP has always been vocally against, Utpal said that as many as five couples sought tickets from the party's national president JP Nadda when he visited the coastal state earlier.
“Had Manohar Parrikar been alive, not a single male politician would have dared to seek ticket for his wife,” Utpal told PTI.
Notably, the saffron party has fielded Monserratte's wife, Jennifer, from the Taleigao Assembly constituency, and Goa health minister Vishwajit Rane and his wife Divya Rane have both been fielded from Valpoi and Poriem constituencies, respectively.
However, Utpal clarified his stand on not wanting a ticket as the son of Manohar, stating that had it been his intention, he would have done it during the 2019 by-elections itself.
The BJP released its first list of 34 candidates of the 40-member Goa assembly on Thursday. The Panaji seat, which has been with the Manohar for 25 years, immediately created a buzz with BJP's Goa election in-charge Devendra Fadnavis saying that Utpal has been provided with “other options” in the upcoming polls.
Justifying the saffron party's move to field a sitting MLA, Fadnavis said that the entire camp feels Parrikar should accept one of the options given to him as the BJP has “respected” the Parikkar family.
Goa assembly elections will be held on February 14, and counting of votes will take place on March 10. The BJP is yet to release the remaining list(s) of candidates for the Goa polls.