Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar dies of cancer at 632 min read . Updated: 17 Mar 2019, 11:59 PM IST
- Manohar Parrikar was one of the few BJP leaders who was very close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi
- As Union defence minister, Parrikar also oversaw the Rafale deal with Dassault Aviation
MUMBAI : Goa chief minister and former Union defence minister Manohar Parrikar died on Sunday evening, after battling pancreatic cancer for more than a year.
Parrikar, a four-time chief minister of the state, will be accorded a state funeral. The central government has announced a day of national mourning in his honour on Monday. The National Flag will fly at half-mast in the national capital and capitals of all states and Union territories. A meeting of the Union cabinet is also scheduled to take place on Monday morning.
“We inform with deep grief that our beloved Chief Minister of Goa Shri. Manohar Parrikar passed away today evening, after a spirited battle against cancer," the official handle of the Chief Minister’s Office of Goa tweeted at 9.10pm on Sunday.
Parrikar was the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) tallest leader in the coastal state. An alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Parrikar entered BJP from its ideological parent, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). He joined as a bright, clean and austere volunteer, attributes he retained throughout his more than five-decade career across RSS and BJP.
“Extremely sorry to hear of the passing of Shri Manohar Parrikar, Chief Minister of Goa, after an illness borne with fortitude and dignity. An epitome of integrity and dedication in public life, his service to the people of Goa and of India will not be forgotten," President Ram Nath Kovind tweeted.
Parrikar was one of the few BJP leaders who was very close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In fact, it was Parrikar who in June 2013 identified and proposed Modi as BJP’s prime ministerial candidate at the party’s national executive in Goa.
So, it did not surprise many when Modi asked Parrikar to hold the defence portfolio in November 2014. As Union defence minister, Parrikar also oversaw the Rafale deal with Dassault Aviation.
In February 2017, Parrikar virtually led BJP’s campaign to retain power in Goa, and the party projected him as chief minister after previous CM Laxmikant Parsekar failed to inspire party cadres. In the assembly polls, Parsekar lost his seat and BJP, despite winning only 13 seats against Congress’s 17, could form the government only after smaller parties Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and Goa Forward Party agreed to support a government led only by Parrikar.
After a year as chief minister, Parrikar fell ill, and had to make multiple visits to the US for treatment. In October, the Goa government said Parrikar had pancreatic cancer.
Tributes started flowing in from across India soon after the news of his demise was announced. “Shri Manohar Parrikar was an unparalleled leader. A true patriot and exceptional administrator, he was admired by all," Modi tweeted.
“Respected and admired across party lines, he was one of Goa’s favourite sons. My condolences to his family in this time of grief," Congress chief Rahul Gandhi tweeted.