The Shiv Sena has dropped its candidate from Goa’s Panaji and has decided to support former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s son Utpal, who is contesting the February 14 state election as an independent after being snubbed by the BJP for the seat.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut had earlier urged all opposition parties to back Utpal Parrikar if he did not get a BJP ticket to contest from Panaji.
“We’re keeping our word. Shiv Sena is withdrawing its candidate Shailendra Velingkar from Panaji. Not just that, our workers will fully support Utpal Parrikar. We believe that the battle for Panaji is just about election, but also about the purification of Goa Politics (sic),” Sanjay Raut said in a tweet tagging Maharashtra minister Aditya Thackeray.
Mr Raut’s tweet included a quote from Utpal Parrikar, apparently targeting the BJP for choosing Atanasio “Babush” Monserrate: “You will give ticket to the person with criminal antecedent in the constituency represented by late Manohar Parrikar?”
Utpal Parrikar, an engineer, says he is staking his political career on fighting against the BJP’s candidate in Panaji, especially as his father built the party from the ground up in Goa and in particular, this constituency.
Manohar Parrikar, a three-time Chief Minister, died in 2019. He held the Panaji seat for 25 years. In the by-election after Mr Parrikar’s death, his long-time rival Babush Monserrate, accused in a rape case, won as a Congress candidate but later switched to the BJP.
Utpal Parrikar had urged the BJP to nominate him this time but the party opted to stick with Mr Monserrate, offering him a different constituency instead.
The Shiv Sena and Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have openly backed Mr Parrikar.
In a tweet earlier this month, Mr Raut had said: “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 ManoharBhai!”