‘A simple man, a leader who worked till last breath’: Friends, colleagues remember Goa CM Manohar Parrikar

Goa CM Manohar Parrikar’s journey into electoral politics started with a loss in the 1991 Lok Sabha elections. He then shifted his focus to the Goa Assembly, where he was elected in 1994.
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar died in Goa on Sunday, March 17, 2019.(PTI File)
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar died in Goa on Sunday, March 17, 2019.(PTI File)
Updated on Mar 18, 2019 12:20 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Mumbai | BySwapnil Rawal

Those close to former defence minister and Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar remember him as a simple man, who didn’t hesitate to “stand in queues at airports or weddings”, and “strived hard for the people and party”. Parrikar, 63, passed away at his son Utpal’s residence at Dona Paula in Goa on Sunday.

Maharashtra education minister Vinod Tawde lauded Parrikar’s commitment to his work and said he had lost a friend in politics. “It is a personal loss for me. He was the epitome of simplicity. We all have seen his photographs inspecting development work in Goa recently. I asked him why he was working and not resting; he replied he didn’t want to die in bed; he wanted to work till his last breath.”

Parrikar, who was born into a Goud Saraswat Brahmin family , was a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) supporter. He had been a part of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-affiliated students wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). Union minister Shripad Y Naik, who hails from Goa, recalls their years as RSS workers and then as BJP members in Goa. “I remember meeting him around 1973-74; we were in the RSS. He was curious and extremely hard working. He brought a lot of changes in Goa with his decisive leadership.”

Also Read | Manohar Parrikar, a technocrat CM with national stature, cross-cultural appeal

Although Parrikar’s journey into electoral politics started with a loss in the 1991 Lok Sabha elections, he then shifted his focus to the Goa Assembly, where he was elected in 1994. Maharashtra BJP chief spokesperson Madhav Bhandari, who worked closely with Parrikar, said he was India’s first IIT-ian to become an MLA and a chief minister. Bhandari, who recalls meeting Parrikar for the first time while campaigning for him in the early 1990s, said he shared a “strong bond” with the people of Goa. “Goans considered only two people as their leaders — Dayanand Bandodkar and Parrikar ji.”

Watch: Political leaders condole demise of Goa CM Manohar Parrikar

 

Parrikar was known to shun the perks of the job, said Mukund Kulkarni, BJP secretary in Maharashtra. Kulkarni, who met Parrikar while campaigning in Goa, said, “Our families were close to each other. He used to frequently visit my house in Worli while he was the Goa CM. Around three years ago, while he was still the defence minister, he came to my house in a taxi. It was his way of knowing the city. While he was the Goa CM, he would often ride on his two-wheeler and stand in queues at airports and in weddings.” Ravindra Sathe, a close friend of Parrikar, who heads Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini, a charitable trust, said, when he met Parrikar in February, his mind was as sharp as ever, although his health was in a poor state.

“Over the years that I have come to know him, he was a transparent man, without any pretence,” Sathe said.

Also Read | Goa BJP, allies meet after Manohar Parrikar’s death, no decision on next CM yet

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Thursday, December 02, 2021