Time for me to stand for Manohar Parrikar’s values, says son Utpal; quits BJP
Utpal Parrikar, the son of former union defence minister and four-time Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday resigned from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and announced he will contest as an independent from Panaji, the seat represented by his father for 25 years.
Utpal Parrikar was denied a ticket by the BJP, which chose to hand over the party’s ticket to Atanasio “Babush” Monserrate, who won the seat in 2019 on a Congress ticket in the by-election held to fill the vacancy resulting from Parrikar’s passing.
Announcing his decision, Utpal said: “People of Panaji did not vote for Manohar Parrikar just because he is MP. They voted for him because he stood for some values. The time has come for me to also stand for those values. I would like to announce that I will be contesting as an independent candidate from Panaji constituency.
“I tried my best even during last elections and this election to convince my party that I enjoy not only the support of all the workers, who have built this party for the last 30 years, who had toiled with my father to build this party in Panaji. They are also toiling with me today. I have also enjoyed their support and the support of the general population of Panaji. In spite of that for some reason I have not been able to get the candidature of Panaji constituency. It has been given to someone who has opportunistically come within the party within the last two years. Due to these circumstances, I have no choice but to stand for the values my father believed in and go ahead and let the people of Panaji decide my political fate,” he added.
Utpal was offered to contest from another two seats in Goa, both of which he rejected and questioned party leader Devendra Fadnavis who had earlier said that the BJP does not hand out tickets just because he is Manohar Parrikar’s son.”
“If the party does not hand out tickets just because you are somebody’s son then why was I being offered to contest from other seats? I am not asking for the ticket because I want something on the platter,” Utpal said.
“I am not here for some position or post or becoming MLA. I am fighting for some values which I believe in. I am fighting for Panaji. Let the people of Panaji decide. The candidate given by the party, I feel even embarrassed to talk about him. In Panaji, where the party has grown over 30 years,to give a ticket to someone with such a rapsheet who joined two years ago, I had no choice. I have to go to the people,” he added.
Asked whether he would support the BJP in the future in a possible post-poll scenario, Utpal said that he will place such decisions before the people of Goa “at the right time.”
Utpal Parrikar also welcomed the support he was receiving from other political parties notably the Shiv Sena which said that should Utpal decide to contest, other parties should support him.
“Any support required to fight the type of candidate I am fighting is welcome,” Utpal said. .
The ruling BJP in its first list of candidates ignored Utpal’s claims for the Panaji seat and instead chose Babush Monserrate, who joined the BJP from the Congress in 2019 along with nine other Congress MLAs. Monserrate who is facing trial for charges including rape, rioting, etc was preferred on grounds of “winnability” with party incharge Devendra Fadnavis saying that he was given the ticket because he was the ‘sitting MLA.’
“A sitting MLA has been given a ticket in Panaji. Parrikar’s family is our family. They are close to us. I had given Utpal Parrikar two options, from where he could contest. BJP has respected the Parrikar family,” Fadnavis said.