Atanasio 'Babush' Monserrate, the controversial BJP legislator whose announcement as the party's candidate from Goa's Panjim triggered a resignation by its stalwart Manohar Parrikar's son Utpal Parrikar, on Tuesday said that he was the more deserving candidate for the seat.
"I am in the BJP for the past 2.5 years. Not one day till now he uttered a word against me or anything against the party. I am sure he waited to see if I would defect and he would get a chance to contest from Panjim," Mr Monserrate said.
"He is free to contest. The people will elect who is best," he said, insisting that he was not worried about Utpal Parrikar contesting from the seat as an independent following his exit from the party last week.
A three-time Goa Chief Minister and the BJP's top leader in the seaside state, Manohar Parrikar died in office in 2019. A charismatic and popular leader, he held the Panaji constituency for 25 years and his son Utpal Parrikar had hoped to contest from the seat this time.
However, Babush Monserrate, who was his lifelong rival as a Congress leader before his defection and tangled in serious criminal cases, was named the party's choice when it released its first list of candidates.
"His father never wanted him to come into politics. If his father wanted him in politics, he would have nominated him when he shifted his base to Delhi. He nominated someone else to that seat. So, where's the question of legacy? I have fought this seat. I have won this seat. I have defeated a BJP candidate last time," Mr Monserrate said.
Denying the allegations of raping a teenager and an attack on a police station that have sponsored attacks on him from his political rivals, including most recently Mr Parrikar, he said, "I have full faith in the judiciary. If the judiciary had acted in time, by now I would have been free of all charges."
"These are all politically motivated. I even know who has done it. I am just waiting for them to go on trial. These allegations have been going on for 15 years," Mr Monserrate said.
"Despite a Supreme Court judgement that serious cases involving lawmakers should be resolved in six months, the case has not moved. The court has not even begun the trial," he said.