- Utpal Parrikar may still defy his party and contest from Panaji.
- He has reportedly refused the BJP's offer of two other seats.
- Utpal Parrikar already has an offer from Arvind Kejriwal.
The BJP today announced 34 candidates in its first list for Goa but a big name was missing - Utpal Parrikar, the son of former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, a party veteran. Utpal Parrikar had publicly declared he would like to contest from his father's seat Panaji (Panjim) but the BJP picked sitting MLA Atanasio "Babush" Monserrate - a Congress alum - instead.
Utpal Parrikar may still defy his party and contest from Panaji; he has reportedly refused the BJP's offer of two other seats. "I will clear my stand soon," he told reporters.
The BJP's Devendra Fadnavis said Utpal had been offered two other options. "We feel he should accept it. BJP has always given respect to the Parrikar Parivar," Mr Fadnavis said, hoping to stave off a revolt.
Sources say the party has shared "multiple options" with him and has assured him of a spot in the organisation set-up even if he loses. "We have shared with him a five-year horizon for a bigger, better launch in 2027. Talks are still on and hope is not lost," the sources said.
But Utpal Parrikar could soon be spoilt for choice. He already has an offer from Arvind Kejriwal, who tweeted shortly after the BJP released its Goa list.
"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," Mr Kejriwal tweeted, sharing an NDTV report.
Last week, Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut had appealed to opposition parties to support Utpal Parrikar if he fell out with the BJP and contested as an independent.
"We expect that he will not betray the party for narrow gains. Parikkar will have no future in AAP. BJP is his home," BJP sources said.
Manohar Parrikar, a three-time Goa Chief Minister and the BJP's top leader in the seaside state, died in office in 2019. A charismatic and popular leader, he held the Panaji constituency for 25 years.
Babush Monserrate, who was his lifelong rival, is now the party's choice for his constituency over his son.
In the byelection after Mr Parrikar's death, Babush Monserrate won as a Congress candidate but later switched to the BJP.
Utpal Parrikar, an engineering graduate, had been prepping for a Panaji contest. He had been touring the constituency over the past few months, reaching out to voters and positioning himself as the likely BJP candidate.
But in a clear hint that things would not go his way, Mr Fadnavis had said no one should expect to be a candidate just because they are family.
"Manohar Parrikar did a lot of work to establish the BJP in Goa. But nobody gets a ticket in the BJP just because they are the son of Manohar Parrikar or some leader. If they have worked, they are considered," Mr Fadnavis had said.
But the BJP has contradicted itself by promoting family when it came to two other leaders, whose wives have been named candidates as well.
The party has fielded not just Babush Monseratte but also his wife Jennifer Monseratte from the Taleigao constituency. Goa minister Vishwajit Rane and his wife Divya Vishwajit are both on the list. Divya Vishwajit has been pitted against her father-in-law Pratapsinh Rane, the Congress candidate from Poriem constituency.
Vishwajit Rane defended the party's choice and advised Utpal Parrikar against defying the party.
"My personal advice to Utpal Parrikar would be that his father built the BJP. Don't rebel against the BJP," Mr Rane told NDTV.
"Babush has got the Panjim (Panaji) ticket because he has done good work. People there have seen this and voted for him. I too (come) from a political background but no one gave me a ticket on a platter. I made my own space and I worked hard to get a ticket and create my own legacy," he said.