- The BJP has preferred Atanasio Babush Monserrate over Utpal Parrikar from Panaji seat
- Atanasio Babush Monserrate is a sitting MLA from Panaji and a former Congress leader
- BJP has offered two other options to Utpal. He has, however, turned down the offer
The BJP today announced its first list of 34 candidates for the upcoming Assembly polls in Goa, with Utpal Parrikar's name missing from it. Utpal is the son of late Goa CM Manohar Parrikar.
Utpal wanted to contest polls from Panaji, the seat represented by his father in the Legislative Assembly since 1994. The BJP has, however, preferred Atanasio Babush Monserrate, a Congress alum, over Utpal from Panaji. Monserrate is a sitting MLA and a former Congress leader.
Although the BJP has said that options for Utpal are being discussed, Parrikar's son has expressed his desire to contest from Panaji. Utpal said that he will enter the poll fray from the Panaji seat.
"I am firm on contesting from Panaji seat. I will clear my stand soon," he told India TV.
Manohar Parrikar won every election from Panaji held since 1994. He had resigned in February 2015 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi roped in as the Defence Minister in the Union Cabinet. He was rushed to Goa in 2017 to head a BJP-led alliance government. He then successfully contested bypolls from Panaji.
According to reports, the saffron party has offered two other options to Utpal. He has, however, turned down the offer.
"We feel he should accept it. BJP has always given respect to the Parrikar Parivar," the party's poll in-charge for Goa Devendra Fadnavis said.
"But from the seat that Utpal wanted to contest, we already have a sitting MLA and it would not be fair to drop him. However, we have given him the option of contesting from two other seats and the talks are progressing in that direction," Fadnavis added.
Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal has invited Utpal to contest polls on AAP's symbol.
Polling for the 40-member Goa Assembly will be held on February 14 and the counting of votes will be taken up on March 10.