Holding his ground on contesting the Panaji bypoll as an Independent candidate, Goa Forward Party leader Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate on Tuesday said that former chief minister the late Manohar Parrikar’s elder son Utpal Parrikar contesting the byelection will make no difference to him.
“I will fight the Panaji bypoll as an Independent candidate. I don’t care, and it doesn’t make any difference to me, who is my opponent; or whether I will have to fight the battle against one candidate or 12 candidates,” affirmed Monserrate when questioned as how he sees Utpal Parrikar as an opponent.
Utpal Parrikar will most likely be BJP’s candidate in the Panaji assembly segment, which will see the bypoll on May 19.
Monserrate recalled that he had not ‘felt right’ to contest the Panaji bypoll in August 2017 as the late Manohar Parrikar had quit the post of defence minister to become the chief minister of Goa.
Monserrate will meet his party president Vijai Sardesai in the next two days over his decision to resign from the party and contest the bypoll as
an independent nominee.
He said the ideal time to submit the resignation letter to Sardesai will be when the process to file nomination papers begins.
“The GFP is an alliance partner in the BJP-led coalition government… And you know what has happened to the MGP. So I don’t want Vijai to go through the same fate,” he explained.
When questioned whether he is considering seeking Congress ticket, he said, “I am looking forward to everyone’s support. If Congress’ main objective is to defeat their opponent then they need to support me.”
Recalling his ‘arrangements’ with the Congress in the past, Monserrate said, “I had an understanding, and had left two seats for the Congress – Santa Cruz and Taleigao. These were my seats… Now, it is up to the Congress whether they should support me or not… They have to decide whether I am their enemy or the ruling party.”