Panaji: The BJP on Thursday released the names of 34 candidates for the upcoming assembly elections in Goa, with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant to contest from Sanquelim.Goa Deputy Chief Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar will contest from Margao.
However, to the surprise of many, the name of Utpal Parrikar, son of late Manohar Parrikar, was missing from the list.
Manohar Parrikar was the former chief minister of Goa and passed away because of pancreatic cancer while being in office.
“For our party, the Parrikar family is our family. But from the seat that Utpal wanted to contest, we already have a sitting MLA and it would not be fair to drop him,” said BJP Goa state election in-charge Devendra Fadnavis while responding to a query about the decision to not field Utpal from Panjim, which was his father’s constituency.
“However, we had given him the option of contesting from two other seats and the talks are progressing in that direction,” added Fadnavis.
The BJP has fielded Babush Monserrate from Panjim.
Following this development, news agency reported quoting sources close to the Parrikar family that contesting from Panjim is an emotional and sentimental issue for Utpal.
“Even if some members from the family convince Utpal to go ahead and contest from some other constituency that BJP is offering him, it is pretty certain that Utpal will not budge,” said the sources.
The news agency also reported that several top leaders of the BJP, including party president JP Nadda and home minister Amit Shah, have spoken to Utpal over the last month to convince him.
But his response has not been affirmative.
Meanwhile, a member of Parliament from the Rajya Sabha in the Shiv Sena, Sanjay Raut, had recently posted a cryptic tweet, seeking support for Utpal from all opposition parties if he contests as an independent candidate in Panaji.
While so far Utpal has not revealed his decision, the BJP has kept candidature pending on six seats, out of which one was offered to junior Parrikar.
Goa will go to the assembly polls on 14 February. The counting of votes will take place on 10 March.
In the 2017 Goa polls, Congress had emerged as the single largest party by winning 17 seats in the 40-member House. But, the BJP at that time forged an alliance with some regional outfits and independent legislators to form the government.