Utpal Parrikar still has BJP in his heart, but will the party act to bring him back?

Will BJP leadership listen to Utpal Parrikar when he says he is ready to withdraw from the race if Panaji gets a ‘good candidate’?

The BJP has been fighting to come to terms with the Utpal Parrikar episode in Goa as the day of the election closes in.  Utpal, the son of former Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar, had walked out of the party after he was denied a ticket to contest from his late father’s constituency, Panaji.

Though the BJP has been hoping to see Utpal Parrikar return to the party fold, it was not to be as he announced that he will fight the election as an independent candidate from the Panaji Assembly constituency. In the meantime, Parrikar was also approached by Aam Aadmi Party and Shiv Sena so that they could have him with them.

Quitting BJP ‘most difficult’ decision, says Utpal Parrikar

Now, as the days go by, BJP seems to still nurse a slight hope with Parrikar giving the saffron outfit certain hits that he would be happy to be back. But for that to happen, the BJP would have to do a major rethink on who the Panaji candidate would be.

Parrikar has gone on record saying that quitting the BJP was the “most difficult” decision he had made, adding that he is ready to withdraw from the poll race if the BJP fields a “good candidate” from the constituency. The “good candidate” clause, however, would be a tricky proposition. This is because the BJP has already announced a candidate for the Panaji Assembly seat.

It is sitting MLA Atanasio Monserrate whose name has been announced as the BJP candidate for Panaji. Monserrate is among the ten legislators who had defected from the Congress and joined the BJP back in 2019. Parrikar’s “good candidate” clause put forward to the BJP top brass, however, doesn’t gel well with Monserrate. For, Monserrate is facing criminal cases, including a case of rape of a minor.

Can BJP ignore Manohar Parrikar’s son?

It needs to be believed that Parrikar is against a BJP candidate who has a criminal record contesting from the seat his father had represented for more than two decades. Even while reiterating that the BJP is always in his heart and that he is fighting for the party’s soul, Parrikar’s fight against the party’s new actions is strong enough and can’t be ignored.

So when he says that he is ready to withdraw his decision of fighting the election as an independent candidate if the party fields a good candidate from Panaji, the top honchos in the party have a sticky situation in hand.

When Parrikar talks about certain BJP leaders being against another Parrikar in the BJP fold, the party has yet another battle to fight. His decision to come out of the party umbrella and go on his own could bring in irritating issues for the BJP.

It remains to be seen whether the party leadership would consider the “good candidate” clause for Panaji as put forward by Parrikar. Or will the party decide to stick to its decision and ignore Utpal Parrikar?  We need to wait to know.

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