India needs more people’s Chief Minister like Manohar Parrikar

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As Goa politics heats up for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party is making all efforts to retain the rich legacy and popular government headed by Manohar Parrikar, who died on March 17, 2019 after a prolonged battle with pancreatic cancer. The last rites of Parrikar were held on Monday evening with full state honours.

Parrikar, 63, is survived by two sons, two daughter in-laws and a grandson.

Goa Assembly Speaker Pramod Pandurang Sawant was sworn-in as the new Chief Minister of the BJP-led coalition government on March 18, 2019 evening by Governor Mridula Sinha, Sawant, who will be the 11th Chief Minister of the coastal state.

The final farewell to the Aam Aadmi’s Chief Minister and former Defence Minister Parrikar was held with full military and state honours at the Miramar beach as thousands of common people, supporters and BJP workers accompanied the funeral cortege from the Kala Academy Arts and Cultural Centre, where the remains had been kept throughout the day for the public to pay last respects.

It may be mentioned that it was Parrikar who proposed the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi’s name as the Prime Ministerial candidate of BJP for the 2014 general elections, where BJP secured a landslide victory and formed government with a majority in Lok Sabha, paving way for the first non-coalition government at the Centre after almost three decades of coalition government in India. Parrikar was later rewarded as the Union Defence Minister of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government.

In view of the popular demand, he returned to the coastal state of Goa as Chief Minister for the fourth time. He was one of the Chief Ministers who performed till his last breath. He was attending office and even presented the State Budget in the Assembly on January 30, 2019 with nose pipe attached.

Such is not the only appreciable action of Parrikar. The history will never forget him as a true statement and common people’s leader who put the interest of the masses before his political affiliation. When all had expected the BJP – led government to ban cow slaughter in all states ruled by the party like the case in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, Parrikar had opposed the move.

In Goa, beef is the staple diet of the inhabitants. Parrikar’s opposition to BJP’s move won hearts not only in Goa, but the entire nation. Whereas most of the Chief Ministers are simply the ‘Yes Sir’ type when it comes to Party Whip or Central Government policy even like beef ban, Parrikar stood against anything that would cause inconvenience to the local masses.

Parrikar will also be remembered as common man’s leader, who, even after becoming the Chief Minister of Goa, was seen taking an Auto rickshaw to the airport. He will be missed across all walks of life, cutting across political lines as true statement, a leader with conviction for the masses, which is rare in the contemporary political narrative and discourse. While he has left the world, he leaves behind a rich legacy for others to emulate. India needs more leaders like Parrikar.