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Manohar Parrikar: The IITian Who Engineered BJP's Rise in Goa

From an RSS pracharak to a Union Minister, the technocrat-turned politician was known for his administrative acumen and clean image, which left an indelible mark on the politics of the tiny state.

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Updated:March 17, 2019, 8:23 PM IST
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Manohar Parrikar: The IITian Who Engineered BJP's Rise in Goa
File photo of Manohar Parrikar.
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Panaji: Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar passed away at the age of 63 on Sunday after a long battle with a pancreatic ailment.

From an RSS pracharak to a Union Minister, the technocrat-turned politician was known for his administrative acumen and clean image, which left an indelible mark on the politics of the tiny state.

A Mumbai IIT graduate in metallurgical engineering and among the first members of BJP in Goa, Parrikar was instrumental in raising the profile of his party from its just four members in state assembly in 1994 to its present status as a ruling party in the state assembly.

An unassuming man, Parrikar, who had launched a campaign against the Congress-led government on the issue of illegal mining in the state, emerged as the rallying-point for anti-Congress sentiments.

He was the first BJP chief minister who had publicly said in 2013 that Narendra Modi, the then Gujarat Chief Minister, should be the face of the party in 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Parrikar was considered as a confidante of Modi and stood by him during party's decision at a key BJP meet in Goa naming the Gujarat strongman as campaign in-charge before 2014 elections.

At the same time, Parrikar caused a flutter in the BJP with remarks that the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat were a "blot" on Modi's career though he was not personally part of it.

Parrikar, who was also known for his blunt talk and development initiatives, got the first taste of power in the state in 2000 when he was elected the Chief Minister, becoming the first IITian to head a state government. He also had an image of being an organised taskmaster.

As a Leader of Opposition, he took on the Congress party to highlight alleged acts of irregularities.

His controversial Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report bringing to fore the illegal mining led to a major investigation by Justice MB Shah Commission into iron ore extraction activity in the state.

Armed with the party's populist manifesto during his third stint in 2012, Parrikar cut down the prices of petrol in the state by almost Rs 11 per litre, the move which made him most popular chief minister overnight.

The social security schemes like Grih Adhar (providing monthly income for housewives) and Ladli Lakshmi (giving financial help for marriage of girl child) cemented his popularity in the state.

A RSS pracharak from Goa, Parrikar's electoral debut was unsuccessful when he was defeated by Congress candidate Harish Zantye in the 1991 Lok Sabha polls.

He was first elected to the second legislative assembly of Goa in 1994. Later, he rose to become Leader of Opposition from June to November 1999.

Parrikar became the Chief Minister for the first time on October 24, 2000, but his tenure lasted only till February 27, 2002. On June 5, 2002, he was re-elected and became the Chief Minister again.

On January 29, 2005, his government was reduced to a minority in the assembly after four BJP MLAs resigned from the House. However, Parrikar proved his majority in the house in the next month.

In 2007, the Parrikar-led BJP was defeated in the Goa state elections by the Congress led by Digambar Kamat, a former BJP leader.

He was inducted into the Narendra Modi cabinet as the defence minister, under whose tenure India conducted the surgical strikes in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. He returned as Goa CM on March 14, 2017 after the BJP managed to cobble up an alliance in the coastal state to keep the Congress out of power.
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