Why Manohar Parrikar is Happy to Move Back to Goa

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Two and a half years ago Manohar Parrikar needed a bit of convincing to shift to Delhi as minister for Defence. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, fresh off his thumping victory in the Lok Sabha elections, had to personally step in. This time around Parrikar may not have needed much encouragement to move back to Goa as chief minister.

When election results started coming in on Saturday, it became clear that the BJP had lost its hard-won majority in the 40-member Goa state assembly. The Congress, with 17 MLAs, was tantalisingly close to the magic number of 12. BJP with 13 elected members was in second position, losing six out of eight sitting ministers, including Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar.

That was when the BJP looked towards its tallest leader and troubleshooter in Goa. Parrikar swept in after the poll results, and soon, support started pouring in for the BJP. The Maharashtravadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and the Goa Forward Party (GFP) with three MLAs each threw their lot in behind the BJP.

MGP leader Sudhin Dhavlikar went on to say the support to the BJP was for the "development of Goa". Soon, the party top command gave the nod for Parrikar becoming CM again and he proceeded to meet the Governor in Panaji.

This is not the first time the BJP has looked towards Parrikar in times of trouble. The defence minister has risen through the Sangh ranks, becoming a sanghchalak (local director) in his hometown of Mapusa by the age of 26.

In the 1990s the IIT Bombay graduate became heavily involved in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement and was one of its chief organizers in Goa. It is due to this background as a ground-level RSS worker that the Sangh places great trust in him.

Parrikar's entry into active politics happened when he was "loaned" by the RSS to the BJP. He was brought in to counter the growing clout of the MGP – ironically it is the same MGP supporting him this year. By 1999, he was leader of opposition, and in 2000 he was sworn in as chief minister of Goa for a tenure which lasted only till February 2002.

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