BJP mum on fielding Manohar Parrikar's son for Panaji Assembly bypoll (Representational Image)
Amid speculation that Utpal Parrikar, elder son of late Manohar Parrikar, may get the BJP ticket for the Panaji Assembly bypoll, the party on Thursday said "some names" were being discussed for the seat. When contacted by PTI, Utpal Parrikar, 38, refused to comment on the speculations, adding he was now gearing up to campaign for the BJP candidate from North Goa Lok Sabha seat.
The Panaji Assembly bypoll, scheduled on May 19, was necessitated after the death of sitting MLA and the then chief minister Manohar Parrikar last month."The BJP is gearing up for the Panaji bypoll and the process to select the candidate will start soon," party's Goa spokesman Damodar Naik told PTI.He said the BJP will shortlist the candidate and a final call on it would be taken by the party's election committee and the parliamentary board.
Asked if Utpal Parrikar's name may figure in the list, Naik said, "A few names are being discussed and details would be revealed soon."He said the selection of candidate will be done after conducting a detailed survey in the constituency and also taking into account factors like loyalty, winnability and the person's commitment towards the party.
Utpal Parrikar, who has done a Masters degree from the US and is presently into business, said he would be campaigning for BJP's North Goa Lok Sabha seat candidate Shripad Naik.
"Basically, the BJP has said I should be campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls in support of the party's candidate Shripad Naik. I will be going around the Panaji Assembly segment to campaign for Naik," he said.
Asked if would be interested in contesting the Panaji bypoll on BJP's ticket, he said he was taking each day as it comes."As I said, right now I am campaigning for Lok Sabha election. I am taking each day as it comes," he added.
According to sources, state BJP general secretary Satish Dhond met Utpal Parrikar recently.On March 30, Utpal Parrikar along with his younger brother Abhijaat Parrikar issued a statement saying they would take ahead their father's legacy.
"We will honour his life by continuing his legacy of service and dedication to the state and the nation," they said in the statement.Parrikar died on March 17 after a prolonged battle with pancreatic cancer.
After his demise, some BJP leaders had reportedly advised his sons to work for the party.The Panaji Assembly seat has been held by BJP since 1994, when Manohar Parrikar got elected from there for the first time and continued winning it till 2017.The constituency witnessed a bypoll in 2014 when he was elevated to the Union cabinet.
His close aide Siddharth Kunkolienkar won the bypoll and also the 2017 Assembly poll, before vacating the seat in August 2017 to enable Manohar Parrikar to enter the Assembly again.