Wore kohlapuri chappals, rode scooter…Mr Parrikar was tipped to be BJP national president before Gadkari’s name came up

Manohar Parrikar

The Hush Post| 8:41 am | three-minute-read

A man mostly on a scooter, wearing kohlapuri chappals, Manohar Parrikar had no airs of being a Chief Minister or a Defence Minister of the country.

Somewhere in 2014 he was being tipped to be the Chief Minister of Goa. Manohar Parrikar, who passed away late on Sunday (March 17) evening, was worried about wearing his kolhapuri chappals while being the country’s defence minister. Army has a protocol and Parrikar’s Kolhapuri flip flops wouldn’t have gone well with that.

A man of simplicity, Manohar Parrikar was known for his love for Goa. So much so that once he was tipped to be the national president of BJP but he was unwilling to go. And that is when Nitin Gadkari was brought in as the national president of the party.

In 2016, Parrikar was asked whether his dressing sense was too simple for a minister with a major portfolio.

To that, he replied, “I am uncomfortable in western outfits like suits.”

Manohar Parrikar, who rose from a pracharak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to become the country’s Defence Minister and also the Chief Minister of Goa enjoyed a man-next-door image in the politically-volatile coastal state.

Parrikar, 63, served the state four times as chief minister and had a three-year-long stint as Defence Minister in the Narendra Modi-led cabinet.

He was a leader who enjoyed acceptance from all sections of the BJP and even from other parties. He played a key role in making the BJP a force to reckon with in Goa, which remained for long a Congress bastion, with regional outfits having pockets of influence.

Born on December 13, 1955 into a middle class family, his political career began as an RSS pracharak and he continued working for the Sangh even after graduating from IIT-Bombay as a metallurgical engineer.

Parrikar became chief minister of Goa for the first time on October 24, 2000, but his tenure lasted only until February 27, 2002. On June 5, 2002, he was re-elected and served another term as chief minister.

On January 29, 2005, his government was reduced to a minority in the assembly after four BJP MLAs resigned from the House.

After the Modi-led Cabinet was sworn at the Centre, Parrikar was offered a ministerial berth in November 2014. He remained in the Union Cabinet till 2017 when his party failed to get a majority in the Goa legislative assembly polls.

He returned to the state in March 2017 when he managed to woo alliance partners such as Goa Forward Party and MGP.

His health started deteriorating in February 2018 and he was first admitted at Mumbai’s Lilavati Hospital for pancreatic ailment. He was flown to the US in the first week of March last year. He remained there till June.

Parrikar attended the monsoon session of Assembly from July 19 to August 3, and left for the USA on August 10 for the second round of checkup. He returned to Goa on August 22, 2018.

After being treated at a makeshift medical facility at his residence, Parrikar was shifted to the AIIMS New Delhi on September 15 last year.

After almost a month-long treatment, he returned to Goa on October 14.

Parrikar stunned everyone when he reached the CM’s office on January 2 this year after a gap of almost two-and-a-half months.

On January 27, he attended the inauguration of the third bridge on Mandovi river along with Union minister Nitin Gadkari.

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