Utpal Parrikar, the son of former Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar, who left the BJP and announced that he would contest Panaji’s Goa assembly elections next month as an independent, will submit his nomination on Thursday morning and host a contest with the candidate of his former party, Atanasio. ‘Babush’ Monserrate.
Parrikar had said leaving the party was the “toughest” decision, but he was willing to withdraw from the election race if the BJP leads a “good candidate” from the constituency – seen as a reference to criminal cases against Mr Monserrate , who was his father’s old rival.
Mr Parrikar was denied a ticket from the BJP from Panaji, a constituency that his father and party veteran had represented for more than two decades. Troubled by the decision, Parrikar resigned from the BJP on Friday and said he would fight the February 14 elections as an independent from the Panaji seat.
The BJP has nominated Panaji to its incumbent MLA Babush Monserrate, one of ten lawmakers who joined the BJP in July 2019 after leaving Congress. Monserrate faces criminal charges, including a case of raping a teenager.
Utpal Parrikar, the eldest son of Manohar Parrikar, had told news PTI this weekend that the BJP is always in his heart and that he is fighting for the soul of the party.
He said the decision to leave the party was not an easy one for him. “It was the most difficult decision. All this time I hoped that I would not have to make such a decision,” he said.
He said he tried to avoid situations like this (where he had to step down and fight as an independent). “I am not happy that I had to make this decision, but sometimes you have to make difficult decisions. But I am willing to withdraw the decision if the party brings in a good candidate from Panaji,” he said.
Without going further, Mr Parrikar claimed that the refusal of a ticket to him is similar to the situation in 1994 when attempts were made to expel his father from the party, saying that the BJP as an organization is “crumbling” in Goa.
Referring to Panaji’s 2019 by-election, which was necessitated by the death of his father, he recalled being denied a ticket even at that time. “Despite the support, I was refused a ticket. I believed in the party attitude and respected the decision,” he said.