Four – time Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, 63 bid farewell to the world on Sunday after a year of pancreatic cancer struggle.
Parrikar was known for his frugal lifestyle, always dressed in his half – sleeved untucked shirt and leather sandals, yet he was a rare Goa national leader with cross – cultural appeal that dominated state politics for two decades. Often ascribed as the original Aam Aadmi (Common Man), he was often seen riding a scooter to work and was hailed for his humble and grounded nature.
Parrikar recently told the BJP , “People ask me whether I travel on a scooter. I tell them that I don’t any more. My mind is filled with work-related thoughts and if I ride my scooter while my mind is somewhere else, then I could meet with an accident “.
He rose from a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) pracharak to become Goa’s chief minister and also the defense minister of the country, living a simple life in the politically volatile coastal state. Parrikar served as chief minister for Goa four times and was also appointed as minister of defense in the Modi government.
He is survived by his two sons and their families. Today has been declared as national mourning and the flags will fly half mast for the entire week.
His health has taken a turn for worse over the weekend. Last year, Parrikar was diagnosed with pancreatic ailment and was released on 26 February last month from the Goa Medical College and Hospital near Panaji.
Parrikar was a simple person and a leader with ambition, naivety and willingness to fight it out, someone who enjoyed acceptance across party lines from all sections of the BJP.
Born in a middle – class family on December 13, 1955, he began his political career as a RSS pracharak and continued with the Sangh even after graduating from IIT – Bombay.
In 1994, Parrikar joined electoral politics after winning for the Panaji constituency on a BJP ticket. From June to November 1999, he led the opposition and became famous for his speeches against that time’s Congress – led government.
He made his first oath as Goa’s chief minister on October 24, 2000. His tenure, however, continued until February 27, 2002. On June 5, 2002, Parrikar was re – elected and served another term as chief minister in the state.
Pratapsinh Rane of Congress subsequently replaced Manohar Parrikar as chief minister, when BJP was defeated in assembly elections in 2007 by Congress ‘ Digambar Kamat.
In 2012, while riding a popularity wave, Parrikar gave BJP the historic victory in the state assembly with 21 out of 40 seats. He became Goa’s chief minister again.
Parrikar was offered a ministerial berth in the party after Modi Cabinet was sworn in at the Center in 2014. He remained in berth until 2017 when his party in Goa’s assembly polls failed to gather a majority.
His health began to deteriorate from last February and he was admitted to pancreatic ailment at Lilavati Hospital, Mumbai. He later flew to the United States in the first week of March and was being observed at the hospital until June 2018.
Parrikar returned to India and attended the Assembly’s monsoon session and left for further treatment for the US on August 10. He came back on 22 August 2018.
Parrikar was moved to the AIIMS, New Delhi on September 15, 2018 after being treated at his residence. On 2nd January, he reached the office of the chief minister and stunned everyone. He and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari attended the inauguration of the third bridge on the Mandovi River on January 27.
He also presented Goa’s 2019 budget on the very next day of the January 29 union budget session. On January 31 he was taken back to AIIMS, New Delhi for treatment and on February 5 he returned to Goa.
Parrikar had moved in and out of Goa Medical College for treatment during the last couple of days, but was mostly present at his residence.