The day extracts a heavy toll, not just for Goa but for the politics of our country. Manohar Parrikar, Chief Minister of Goa who had been suffering from pancreatic cancer passed away during the late hours of 17th March. Our team’s hearts go out to those affected by this death.
A mass leader
Manohar Parrikar was one of the finest politicians our country ever produced. When he wasn’t a great Chief Minister, he was a great Leader of Opposition. When he came to power, the country had witnessed something never seen before- An IITian chief minister. A simple-speaking man who had no room for pretense and his primary goal was just competence. He didn’t work for power or money or fame. He entered the politics because of his passion for his home state, Goa.
Before his rise to power, the state had dealt with political instability owing to defections to the extent that over a span of 12 years, 13 governments had come to power. But the ‘post-Parrikar’ era has been centred around him. He was pivotal in state politics as a chief minister and even as a Leader of Opposition
He was an active member of the RSS during his time at IIT Bombay. Later on he was included in the BJP on the recommendation of RSS. He became a MLA in 1994 and subsequently a leader of opposition in 1999. In 2000, he contested the elections for the Chief Minister of Goa. He won but his term lasted only till February of 2002. He was re-elected in June that year. In January of 2005, 4 BJP MLAs resigned reducing the government to minority. Subsequently in 2007, the Indian National Congress led by Digambar Kamat. Then in 2012, the BJP made headlines by wining 24 seats against INC’s 9. Under his leadership, in 2014 BJP won both of Lok Sabha’s Goa seats.
He was India’s Defence Minister between 2014-17. In 2017, he came back to goa and was appointed Chief Minister again.
A true statesman
But the respect he won in Indian Politics goes beyond party lines and boundaries. His government was always regarded as one of transparency, efficiency and quick decision making.
He’s credited with opening up the Augusta Westland Chopper Scam investigation. His efforts as Chief Minister during the 2004 IIFA awards which made Goa a permanent venue are not unknown.
He was single-handedly responsible for BJP’s presence in Goa. He positioned the party away from Hindutva ideologies and towards a more inclusive ideology. He even made the Catholic Church in the state a BJP ally.
Manohar Parrikar also played a key role towards creating an indigenous weapons ecosystem for the defense forces. In 2016’s cross border strike by India, he played a key role acting as a steering wheel for the entire operation.
the Goa National Executive Meeting of 2013 which saw the declaration of Narendra Modi as BJP’s candidate for the 2014 elections saw a significant role being played by Manohar Parrikar. For this he was appreciated by the PM on numerous occasions.
“In sickness and in health” was not just a term or phrase for Mahonhar ji. Even as he was being treated for his ailment he conducted important meetings like those of the State Investment Promotion Board at his residence.
It was not any political desire or the hunger for power but his love for his homeland that drew him to politics. It was his love for Goa and his yearning to make it better and better.