All non-BJP parties must support Utpal Parrikar: Sanjay RautPune January 17, 2022 14:55 IST
Manohar Parrikar’s son has been disenchanted with current BJP leadership, which is likely to deny him ticket
All non-BJP parties must support the late BJP leader and former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s son Utpal Parrikar should the latter decides to contest the coming Goa Assembly election, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said on Monday.
Taking a jibe at the current State BJP leadership under Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, Mr. Raut, in a tweet, said that if all Opposition parties in the State supported Mr. Utpal’s putative candidature from Panaji by not fielding any candidate against him, then it would be “true tribute” to the late Parrikar.
Mr. Utpal has been deeply disenchanted with the present BJP leadership which, according to political grapevine, is expected to deny him a ticket in the election slated for February 14.
Mr. Utpal has expressed interest in contesting as an Independent from the Panaji constituency, which was held by Manohar Parrikar for 23 years before his untimely demise in March 2019.
“If Utpal Parrikar contests Independent from Panaji seat, I propose all non-BJP parties including Aam Aadmi Party, Congress, Trinamool Congress and Goa Forward Party should support his candidature and not field a candidate against him. This will be a true tribute to Manohar Bhai ,” Mr. Raut tweeted on Monday.
The Sena MP said last week that his party was ready to back Mr. Utpal’s candidature from Panaji should he decide to join the poll fray.
Last week, BJP’s Goa election in charge Devendra Fadnavis commenting on Mr. Utpal’s possible candidature said the BJP did not give ticket just because someone was the son of a former Chief Minister and that the award of a ticket would depend on whether a candidate had work to show for it.
While Mr. Utpal has been upset with the ‘direction’ the BJP has been taking since his father’s death, he is particularly piqued with the party’s proposed decision to field former Minister Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate from Panaji.
“I cannot tolerate the kind of politics that is happening in Goa… It is not acceptable to me. Are they [BJP] suggesting that only winnability is the criteria and that integrity, character doesn’t matter? And you are going to give the ticket to a person who has criminal antecedents [alluding to Mr. Monserrate] and we have to sit home quietly?” Mr. Utpal had said.
A key player
Mr. Monserrate, an ex-Congressman, is considered to be one of the key players who engineered the defection of 10 Congress MLAs into the BJP in July 2019.
Mr. Utpal, who had been eager to contest the May 2019 bypoll to the Panaji seat, which was necessitated by his father’s demise, was dissuaded by Mr. Sawant on grounds that he reportedly did not have good connect with the voters.
According to sources, the BJP leadership had wanted Mr. Utpal to instead support Sidharth Kuncalienkar, who had been the Panaji MLA between February 2015 and May 2017 in the interim period that Manohar Parrikar was serving as the Defence Minister. (Mr. Kuncalienkar had vacated the seat in May 2017 for Mr. Parrikar to contest after the latter had resigned as Defence Minister.)
The 2019 Panaji by-election, however, turned into a debacle for the BJP with Mr. Monserrate defeating Mr. Kuncalienkar despite the saffron party hoping to ride a ‘sympathy wave’ following Mr. Parrikar’s demise - the first time since 1994 that the BJP had lost the seat.