‘It Was He Who Convinced the Catholics’: Shripad Naik Relives 30-Year Friendship With Manohar Parrikar
Shripad Naik, MoS, Ayurveda, and a senior BJP leader from Goa, had an over three-decade-long association with Parrikar.
News18 creative by Mir Suhail.
New Delhi: Manohar Parrikar’s face will continue to dominate the BJP’s poll campaign in the upcoming elections in Goa. Shripad Naik, a long-time friend of the former chief minister, told News18 that the party will walk “the path shown” by Parrikar.
“It is true that Parrikar has left behind a huge leadership vacuum in Goa. But Parrikar created a path for the rest of the BJP cadre here. That is the path we will continue to walk on in the days ahead,” Naik said.
Shripad Naik, MoS, Ayurveda, and a senior BJP leader from Goa, had an over three-decade-long association with Parrikar. In fact, Naik was Parrikar’s senior in the RSS, whose foundation in Goa was laid together by both the leaders.
“We had established shakhas in Goa in some very adverse times. From almost nothing, we were able to set up over 100 shakhas in the state. Parrikar had a big role to play in all of this. We could see the leadership potential in him even then,” Naik said.
He described Parrikar’s working style as “very different”.
“You could see that in him even then. He would be most disciplined as a Karyakarta, but someone who would not be constrained by old rules. He was willing to change always. And that is the hallmark of a great leader,” Naik said.
He added that if someone were to tell him back in early 90s that Parrikar would go on to become the Chief Minister of the state and hold portfolios like Defence at the Centre, nobody who knew Parrikar then would be surprised.
“In 1991, the BJP was almost non-existent in Goa. There was a consensus on fielding Parrikar from North Goa Lok Sabha. It was his first time as the party’s nominee and he was able to get around 30,000 votes. Together, he and I got 51,000 votes for the party back then,” Naik said.
Most of the credit of expanding the party’s writ in Goa over the last three decades goes to Parrikar, Naik said. “It was he who brought in the Catholics, who won them over, who convinced them,” Naik said.
The Naiks and Parrikars would go out on at least one outing a year, every year for the 35 years that they had known each other, the MoS said.
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