- Utpal Parrikar was denied BJP ticket from the Panaji seat
- He announced that he would contest as an Independent candidate
- Utpal Parrikar said he enjoys the support of general people of Panaji
Utpal Parrikar, the son of three-time Goa Chief Minister and former Union Minister Manohar Parrikar, parted company with the BJP on Friday after the party refused to offer him ticket for the Panaji seat in the coming assembly elections of the seaside state. Announcing that he would contest as an Independent, Utpal Parrikar said the time has come for him to "take some stand for my values... and let the people of Panaji decide my political fate".
Manohar Parrikar, the BJP's tallest leader in Goa, had held the Panaji constituency for 25 years before his death in 2019. But the party's choice was controversial MLA Atanasio "Babush" Monserrate -- the lifelong rival of Manohar Parrikar -- over his son.
"I tried my best even during last and this election to convince my party that I enjoyed not only the support of all the party members, I also enjoy the support of general people of Panaji," Utpal Parrikar told reporters this evening.
"Despite that, I am unable to get the candidature of Panaji constituency. It has been given to someone who has opportunistically come in the party in last two years... That's why I want to go ahead and let the people of Panaji decide my political fate," he said.
In 2019, Utpal Parrikar had expressed his wish to contest the by-elections from the Panaji seat, which fell vacant after his father's death. But the party wanted him to back Sidharth Kuncolienkar, a Parrikar loyalist. Subsequently, the BJP lost the seat to the Congress after 25 years -- Mr Monseratte was the winning candidate.
This time, the party made it clear that it is not keen to upset the status quo.
Atanasio Monseratte, accused in a rape case, had changed camp in July 2019 along with nine other Congress leaders.
Parrikar Junior had multiple choices for the election. The BJP had offered him two alternate seats, which he reportedly turned down. He also got an offer from Aam Aadmi chief Arvind Kejriwal, who tweeted that "Utpal ji is welcome to join and fight elections on AAP ticket".
"I have always respected Manohar Parrikar ji… Goans feel very sad that BJP has adopted use-and-throw policy even with the Parrikar family," Mr Kejriwal had added in his tweet yesterday.
"Manohar Parrikar has represented the Panaji constituency for more than two decades," Utpal Parrikar told reporters. "This was possible as he enjoyed love and affection with people of Panaji which even I have developed. People voted for him as he stood for something… The time has come that even I take some stand for my values," he added.
Elections to Goa's 40-member state Assembly will be held on February 14 and the counting of votes will take place on March 10.