I did not win but proved by winnability: Utpal Parrikar

On the third death anniversary of his father late Defence Minister and former Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday, things seemed to have warmed up again between the party and Parrikar’s son Utpal Parrikar.

Utpal Parrikar resigned from the BJP before the legislative assembly poll held on February 14 in Goa. He contested as an independent candidate, taking the BJP’s candidate Atanasio alias Babush Monserrate head on.

Senior BJP leaders including caretaker Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, Goa BJP President Sadanand Tanavade, senior state leaders and his poll adversary and Panaji MLA Atanasio alias Babush Monserrate paid their respects to Parrikar at his memorial, near Miramar beach in Panaji.

Utpal and members of his family were present to greet them, as Sawant garlanded a statue of Parrikar.

Defeated by Monserrate by a slim margin of 716 votes in the Panaji assembly seat, Utpal told reporters that by contesting as an independent candidate, he had proved his ‘winnability’ and if he had the lotus symbol, he would have won comfortably.

In the Goan capital, Monserrate won 6,787 votes while Utpal won 6,071. Congress’s Elvis Gomes who finished third, got 3,175 votes.

Ahead of the election, Utpal was hopeful of getting a BJP ticket to contest the Panaji seat but the party fielded Monserrate, the sitting MLA, from the seat that was represented by the senior Parrikar five times until his death in 2019.

Sawant paid a floral tribute to Parrikar, fondly called ‘Bhai’, at his memorial. (Express Photo)

“It was my endeavour to ensure that a good person goes to the assembly from Panaji…I tried, with my thoughts and ideas I moved ahead and got an enthusiastic response from the people. I am very happy and grateful for the support that I got. Even if I didn’t win, I have proved my winnability,” said Utpal.

He said, “If I had the lotus symbol with me I would have got 2500-3000 votes more. I would have almost touched 9,000, the same number that Baba would get. Everyone has seen, the seniors have also seen that I could have reached there.

He said he had won votes that could have gone to the BJP as well as those that could have gone to other parties. “No one can claim that they have got 100 percent of the BJP’s votes. Some people vote based on the symbol, some people vote based on the issues related to the government at the Centre. He (Monserrate) got about 2,500-3,000 votes because of the lotus symbol. If I had it, I could have got those votes.”

He, however, said he had no regrets about contesting about the recently concluded election as an independent candidate. “I could prove my winnability because I contested as an independent or else all my life I would have been told I don’t have winnability.”

Asked about his return to the BJP, he said, These are technical things that will come before the people soon… I don’t know what will happen in the future but I can never forget this debt of the people of Panaji and that is why I will continue to raise their issues.”

After the election results were declared on March 10, BJP’s Goa election in-charge Devendra Fadnavis had said, “I am happy about Monserrate’s win but I cannot be happy about Utpal’s defeat. He is a part of our family. We will see what to do in the future. All I can say is that if he had stayed with us, he would be an MLA today.”

Sawant paid a floral tribute to Parrikar, fondly called ‘Bhai’, at his memorial and said that he, senior leaders of the BJP, MLAs and government officials had attended the event to pay their respects to Parrikar, who will always be remembered by Goans, especially for his contribution to the development of Goa’s infrastructure.

He also tweeted an old picture of Parrikar shaking his hand in the legislative assembly and wrote, “Bhai has always been a source of inspiration, someone I could  always look up to! He has not only brought me in the political arena; but has time and again guided me to serve the people with sincerity and impeccable integrity! On his ‘Punyatithi’ I offer my  prayers on his his remembrance! (sic)”.

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