On a day the BJP fielded former MLA Siddharth Kunkolienkar for Panaji Assembly bypoll, late chief minister Manohar Parrikar’s son Utpal, who was in reckoning as a candidate, said his father never wanted him to join politics.
However, Utpal also said he was an independent person now who has his own identity. The byelection was necessitated following the death of Parrikar, who was the sitting MLA from Panaji, on March 17. While there was a speculation that Utpal would be given a ticket, the party chose Kunkolienkar.
"Bhai (Parrikar) did not want me to come into politics. This cannot be termed as family raj. Now my father is not there. I am an independent person. I have my independent identity," Utpal told reporters.
"It is said that whenever you want to join politics to cleanse the system, the hurdles are bound to come in the way. Even my father had faced the obstacles," Utpal said without elaborating. He, however, appeared taking the development in his stride.
"...There is no need to be disheartened. I will learn from this. I will work the way party wants me to. Whatever they tell me to do, I will do for retaining this prestigious seat. It is my father’s constituency, and for 25 years people of Panaji have blessed him, and hopefully we will be able to retain it," Utpal added.
Responding to a query, Utpal said there was an impasse over the ticket for the constituency, which was resolved after intervention of Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.
The May 19 contest is turning out to be a triangular one, with the Congress fielding former minister Atanasio Monserrate and Goa Suraksha Manch’s Subhash Velingkar also joining the fray.