Manohar Parrikar will remain a role model for the political workers all over Goa and the country. Both his personal and public life are worth emulating
I first met Manohar Parrikar ji at Dabolim Airport of Goa, where I, along with the National Leaders of the BJP arrived for the National Executive meeting in 2013. Some BJP leaders and workers were receiving us at the airport. Sitting there for some time and waiting for the arrangement of vehicles for proceeding to the hotel, I was touched to observe the sincere activities of a young, handsome man, who was answering to each and every question of the guests very politely. He seemed to be a sincere worker of the BJP. He came to me, hurriedly picked up my suitcase and asked, “Is it yours?” I said, “Yes, but why are you carrying this. I know, you are Chief Minister of Goa. I have heard a lot about you.”
Goa Governor Smt Mridula Sinha with Manohar Parrikar and others in Goa
It appeared as if he had no time to listen to the words of appreciation from me. I told him politely, “Give this suitcase to me or any worker”. He was moving towards the vehicle allotted in my name, I had no other option than only to follow him. Certainly, Parrikar ji was the first Swayamsevak of RSS, then the worker of the Bharatiya Janata Party and then the Chief Minister of Goa, but he remained a true social worker and beloved of Goans, their ‘Bhai’.
When my name was announced as Governor of Goa, I came here. He was again waiting to receive me at Dabolim Airport. With a simple arrangement, I took oath as Governor. He was with me all the time smiling and spoke a few words. He was always ready to fulfil the Governor’s requests for the betterment of Goa as if there was not a single ‘No’ in his dictionary. Not only for me but also all the Goans, he had solutions for their problems, since he was not a problem creator himself.
When Shri Parrikar was asked by Prime Minister to join his cabinet and take oath as Defence Minister of India, he rushed to Delhi to fulfil the desire of Prime Minister. He used to visit Goa frequently. Goans were happy to meet their ‘Bhai’. I need not say about the works he did as a Defence Minister. All of us know that. I used to ask him, “Why are you reducing your weight?” With a smile, he answered, “I miss the Goan cuisine there. I cannot enjoy the North Indian taste of food.” Once, Shri Parrikar was sitting with me watching a football match in a stadium. He was eating some roasted grams without break. He offered me the snacks and said, “I cannot sit silently. I keep my mouth always busy, either eating or chatting.” He was a staunch non-vegetarian. He liked to take non-veg for breakfast also.
When the cruel disease was detected one year ago, every Indian was shocked to hear about it. Today our beloved Manohar Parrikar is no more. It will take time to believe and accept this fact.
He had the highest dream for Goa. Some of the dreams were fulfilled. Recently the third signature bridge on Mandovi River was inaugurated by Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Shri Nitin Gadkari, and in spite of his health conditions, he attended the inauguration. He not only went there but gave a short speech. He asked, “How is the josh?” The citizens of Goa answered their Bhai very enthusiastically. His dream has been realised and hence, he will not go away from the memory of Goans.
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi came to Goa to say goodbye to Parrikar. I was also in Prime Minister’s car. He said, “We have decided to have national seven days mourning for Shri Parrikar”. I said, “It is true that he was a national leader.” I saw his eyes which were full of tears.
In my condolence message, I said, “As a political leader he had, in his own way, chartered a new approach to various problems and succeeded in resolving many of them by his sincere personality. Shri Manohar Parrikar was an able Administrator and has raised the stature of the State of Goa to the highest level. He created an ideal for all the leaders to emulate and follow his path. He will be remembered as a social worker who gave his whole life to the cause of people. In his death, the country and the State of Goa have lost a tall leader and the vacuum created by him will be difficult to fill”. When I came here as Governor, he told my ADC, “Ask your policemen and Governor’s driver not to blow the siren frequently or for a long time to avoid disturbance to the people on the road.
Since February 2018, I had been in close touch of either personal staff of CM who were attending their dearest CM or his family members. I met him several times at AIIMS or his residence in Goa. I used to ask him, “Are you going through severe pain?” He always replied, “No” nodding his head. I knew that my feelings had touched him and his answer was only to make me relieved.
Now Parrikar ji is not with us. But I believe the new Government will try to fulfil his dreams and follow his path for development of Goa. He will be a role model for the political workers all over Goa and India.
(The writer is Governor of Goa)