The sun of 17th March set as Goa’s beloved Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar took his last breath. Battling with pancreatic cancer, Parrikar, 63, had recently begun to make public appearances inaugurating government projects.
Manohar Parrikar served the state of Goa four times as the Chief Minister and was Defence Minister of India for three years in the Modi-led cabinet.
From Pracharak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh to the Defence Minister of India, Parrikar enjoyed acceptance from all the sections of BJP.
It was Parrikar who brought BJP to power in the politically volatile state of Goa. After winning from the Panaji constituency on a BJP ticket, Parrikar entered the electoral politics in the year 1994. In the year 2012, Parrikar’s party won 21 seats out of 40 in the assembly. This success was a pedestal to his popularity. Known as a people’s man, Parrikar was often spotted taking checks on work disguised as a commoner.
Manohar Parrikar – The Aam Aadmi Neta
In a popular story well-known in Goa, Parrikar was once on a scooter when a police officer’s son banged his car. On confrontation, the young boy started to flash his connections. Parrikar just lifted his helmet and said, “Yes, I know who you are but I am also your CM!”
RSS Pracharak Who Ruled The Hearts of Goans
BJP and Parrikar saw their rise to prominence in Goa during the Ram Janambhoomi movement. However, despite his roots of that of Shakha, Parrikar never became a prisoner of RSS’s divisive & polarising Hindutva politics. Parrikar was aware of the need for inclusive politics to rule the hearts of Goans (a large population of Goa is Catholic)
“In Manohar’s universe, the church and the temple will always coexist in harmony”, Francis D’Souza, his one-time deputy CM had once said.
In fact, Parrikar did rule-out local Goa RSS unit’s insistence on promoting Konkani over English.
“A modern society needs English education”, was his answer.
Tainted, Untainted Walk Of Fame
While his final days of battle with cancer slowed him down, making some question his obsession with power. People suggested he walked away with his grace and took care of his health over a dicey coalition government of Goa. The opposition appealed with the governor to make a call multiple times.
As he asked “How is the josh?!” in his last public appearance to inaugurated a bridge in Panjim, we’d all hear the pain. His voice hurt. He had tubes in his nostrils and assistants propped him up. Yet, he stuck around, well aware that BJP-led government’s only chance to survive in Goa was him.
Has Goa lost a CM who can never be replaced or is this the beginning of new era for the state, only time will tell?
Manohar Parrikar was accorded a state funeral with military honors. He was cremated at Miramar on Monday, 18th March.
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