“You give ticket to criminal and...’: Parrikar’s son Utpal pans Goa BJP leaders
PANAJI: Utpal Parrikar, the son of former union defence minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday hit out at the BJP leadership in Goa, asserting that he will not sit quietly if the BJP gives the party ticket for the Panaji constituency to incumbent legislator Atanasio Monserrate.
Utpal, who has been keen to contest from the seat represented by his father for more than 25 years, was reacting to BJP Goa in-charge Devendra Fadnavis’s remarks that just because an aspirant is the son of Manohar Parrikar or any leader, didn’t automatically qualify him for the BJP’s ticket.
“The kind of politics that is happening in Goa, I cannot tolerate it. It is not acceptable to me. Are they suggesting that only winnability is the criteria (and that) integrity doesn’t matter? Character doesn’t matter? And you are going to give the ticket to a person who has criminal antecedents and we have to sit home quietly?” Utpal Parrikar said in comments to the media.
“These are very important things and this is not only about Panaji. What is happening in the Goa political scene is not acceptable. It has to change. Which is what I am trying,” Utpal said.
Utpal is up against Atanasio “Babush” Monserrate, a former Congressman who is facing a string of cases including rioting, rape dating as far back as 2008. In the 2019 assembly bypolls held after Parrikar’s death, Monserrate, then a Congress candidate defeated the BJP candidate Siddharth Kuncaliencar who was chosen over Utpal for the party ticket.
Monserrate subsequently joined the Congress along with nine other Congress MLA including his wife Jennifer.
Fadnavis’s comments on Utpal Parrikar were seen to indicate that he could be overlooked for the party’s ticket once again.
“Manohar Parrikar did a lot of work to establish the BJP party in Goa. But just because you are Manohar Parrikar’s or anybody’s son doesn’t mean you will get a BJP ticket. If he/she has the work to show for it, then we think about it. But a decision regarding this is not taken by me, it will be taken by the parliamentary board,” Fadnavis had said.
Utpal said that all the party workers and supporters who were with his father since 1994 (when Parrikar was first elected) were with him today.
“If now you go on the field, you will see that the people who were with baba (his father) since 1994 and who have made the party what it is in Panaji are with me today. I am going to the people of Panaji and I was meeting them privately and now that elections are near, I am meeting them publicly. The workers who were with Manohar Parrikar are now with me. And with them, I am going ahead,” Utpal said.
He however stopped short of saying that he will be contesting the upcoming elections saying that he will announce his decision at the right time.
“I haven’t finalised yet. At the right time, I will decide,” Utpal said.