From an IIT Engineer to ‘Unparalleled Leader’.

India’s former Defence Minister and four-time serving Chief Minister of Goa, Manohar Parrikar took his last breath on Sunday at the age of 63 in Panaji, Goa. Mr. Parrikar was struggling and battling with pancreatic cancer for many months. The demise of Technocrat- Politician with ‘common man’ image left the smallest state in inconsiderable pain and strain. Parrikar was diagnosed with a pancreatic ailment, cancer to be said precisely. With his belief “Human mind can overcome any disease”, he taught the entire nation how to live boss life and give a tough competition to ‘life-threatening disease’. Ever since he was diagnosed, he stayed strong with his never give-up attitude. His health started to deteriorate in February’18 and he was admitted to Mumbai’s Lilawati Hospital and then transferred to All India Institutes of Medical Science (AIIMS) where he succumbed to the disease and passed away.

Let’s have a look over the reminiscent timeline of his career.

  • Birth and Early life

Manohar Parrikar was born on 13th December 1955 in Mapusa to a Goud Saraswat Brahmin family. He did his schooling from Loyola High School, Margao and his secondary education took place in the Marathi language. He was introduced to Rashtriya Seva Sangh at the young age and was appointed as the Chief Instructor in the final years of schooling. In 1975 he moved to Bombay for his graduation. He was graduated with the degree in metallurgy from Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. He continued his association with RSS after completing the graduation. As a RSS person, he was majorly involved in spreading Ramjanmbhoomi movement in Goa.

  • Political life.

Parrikar’s entry into mainstream politics began in 1991 when he was defeated by Congress Candidate Harish Zantaye. It was in 1994 when he, for the first time, represented the Panaji in Goa legislative assembly. He became the leader of opposition in June 1999 and stayed there till November 1999.

As Active Chief Minister.

It was in 1998 when BJP felt the need for its establishment in Goa also. He then asked RSS to lend service of some cadres and Manohar Parrikar was one among few. And from the last two decades, as far as Goa is concerned, Parrikar is BJP and vice versa. Manohar Parrikar served Goa as four-time Chief Minister. His first term began on 24 October 2000. However, the term lasted for only 16 months. His second tenure also lasted for 2 years and 8 months.

It was in 2012 when he began his third tenure as Chief Minister has led the BJP to their biggest ever win, giving it a majority on its own for the first time. It was he who proposed the name of Narendra Modi as the face for 2014 in party conclave.

His reputation and image as honest and ‘ Common man’ leader established a stronger base for him as well as for BJP. He considered himself and was a nerd in finding the solution. He was among the people who listen to everybody but ultimately it’s his words that would be considered as final. And it was his this quick and transparent decision making quality that made the BJP to call him to the centre in his midterm. Parrikar was given defence ministry in November 2014 as BJP desperately needed a credible face that time. But everyone wasn’t happy on his coming, he left the entire Goa behind him. Without him, BJP wasn’t able to drum up enough public support. The BJP government reduced to 13 in the 2017 assembly polls. As a result, he was sent back for “taking moral responsibility”. He headed the coalition of an odd divergent group to form the government. The only thing that held them together was this man – Manohar Parrikar.

From surgical strike to Rafale deal.

Parrikar’s nearly three-year tenure also witnessed the Surgical strike conducted by Indian Army in September 2016, retaliating for the attacks in Uri.  The only thing that cast a shadow over his ‘sincere’ tenure was the Rafale deal of 2015. He emphasized on adding Light Combat Aircraft Tejas in the Indian Air Force’s fleet. He was the Defence Minister when the Rafale jet deal of 56,000 crores for 36 jets was signed. Rahul Gandhi has always pointed his guns towards the Central Government for hiding official records of the deal. He even claimed that Parrikar had said he had nothing to do with the Rafale deal. “Mr. Parrikar clearly stated that he has nothing to do with the new deal that was orchestrated by Mr. Narendra Modi to benefit Anil Ambani,” Rahul said. Responding to him, Parrikar lashes out on Gandhi for using his visit for “petty political gains”. Asserting that there was no discussion on the Rafale issue in his five-minute meet, Parrikar wrote a letter to Rahul expressing his feelings, he wrote

“…let down that you have used this visit for your petty political gains. In the 05 minutes you spent with me, neither did you mention anything about Rafale, not did we discuss anything about/related to it,”.

Nirmala Sitharaman, his successor and current Defence Minister has cleared that “the apex court had not found “anything adverse in the deal” and had refused to order an investigation. It is best to avoid the pitfalls of a corporate battle which has been going on since 2012 which has adversely affected the capabilities of the Indian Air Force. The controversy should be put to rest in the interest of national security,” 

  • The later life and his disease

Even after admitting that he was “battling a life-threatening disease”, we never saw him losing his hope. He never digressed from fulfilling duties, rather he was always seen attending public meetings. He presented the Goa budget with feeble voice and a tube in one of his nostrils. “Today, once again I promise that I will serve Goa with sincerity, integrity, and dedication until my last breath, There is a josh, that is too high and I’m fully in hosh,” Parrikar said in his budget speech. He made another public appearance with a tube in his nose and inspected a half-constructed bridge the Mandovi river on December 2018. After battling with cancer for a more than a year, on 17th March, Sunday he succumbed to his ailment and bid adieu to everyone of us. President Ramnath Kovind announced the news of his death. Saddened by his demise, we saw everyone tweeting and praying condolences to him. President tweeted,

Extremely sorry to hear of the passing of Shri Manohar Parrikar, Chief Minister of Goa, after an illness borne with fortitude and dignity. An epitome of integrity and dedication in public life, his service to the people of Goa and of India will not be forgotten #PresidentKovind

Prime Minister also presented his grief by saying,

Shri Manohar Parrikar was an unparalleled leader. A true patriot and exceptional administrator, he was admired by all. His impeccable service to the nation will be remembered by generations. Deeply saddened by his demise. Condolences to his family and supporters.Om Shanti.

Congress President, Rahul Gandhi has also expressed grief,

I am deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Goa CM, Shri Manohar Parrikar Ji, who bravely battled a debilitating illness for over a year.Respected and admired across party lines, he was one of Goa’s favourite sons.My condolences to his family in this time of grief.

He will always be remembered by everyone of us for his simplicity, short-sleeved, untucked shirt and sandals and his no-fuss style of work. It will be difficult for his successors also to fill his position in the heart of Goans and the nation.

News source: Times of India , Quint. Com, Economic Times and Business Standard.

Image source: News Nation

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