New Delhi: Manohar Parrikar, the Goa chief minister and former defence minister, who had been battling from pancreatic cancer for more than a year, passed away this evening in Panaji. He was 63.
Parrikar had been in and out of hospitals from February last year. His health had been fluctuating for several days and worsened on Saturday morning. He passed away on Sunday evening.
President Ram Nath Kovind led the country in offering his condolences on Parrikar’s demise. He was followed by Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a host of ministers and political leaders from across country cutting across party lines.
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 #PresidentKovind— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) March 17, 2019
In his passing, the nation in general and Goa in particular lost its proud son.— VicePresidentOfIndia (@VPSecretariat) March 17, 2019
My heartfelt condolences to the members of his bereaved family. May his soul rest in peace.#Parrikar
Shri Manohar Parrikar was an unparalleled leader.— Chowkidar Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 17, 2019
A true patriot and exceptional administrator, he was admired by all. His impeccable service to the nation will be remembered by generations.
Deeply saddened by his demise. Condolences to his family and supporters.
Om Shanti. pic.twitter.com/uahXme3ifp
I am deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Goa CM, Shri Manohar Parrikar Ji, who bravely battled a debilitating illness for over a year.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) March 17, 2019
Respected and admired across party lines, he was one of Goa’s favourite sons.
My condolences to his family in this time of grief.
Saddened at the passing away of Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar ji. He patiently endured his illness. Condolences to his family and his admirers— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) March 17, 2019
The four-time chief minister had said in January that he would “serve Goa till last breath”. He continued to serve his state as the chief minister despite failing health.
Manohar Parrikar was born in Goa’s Mapusa, on December 13, 1955. He completed schooling in Margao in Marathi medium. He went on to graduate in metallurgical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, in 1978. He was the first IIT alumnus to serve as MLA of an Indian state.
Parrikar joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh at a young age and became a chief instructor in the final years of his schooling. After graduating from IIT, he resumed RSS work while maintaining a private business, and became a sanghchalak (local RSS leader) at 26. He later became a key organizer of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement in Goa. He was seconded by RSS to the Bharatiya Janata Party with the objective of fighting the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party – the dominant regional political party in Goa.
Parrikar was elected to the Goa legislative assembly in 1994. He was the leader of the opposition from June to November 1999. He successfully contested the election to become the chief minister of Goa in October 2000, but his tenure lasted only until February 2002. In June 2002, he was re-elected and served another term as chief minister.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, the BJP won both the Lok Sabha seats in Goa. In November 2014, Parrikar was chosen as the defence minister replacing Arun Jaitley, who, till then, held the additional charge of the ministry. A reluctant Parrikar didn’t want to leave Goa and go to Delhi, but he was persuaded by the prime minister, Narendra Modi, to accept the Cabinet post.
He was then made a Rajya Sabha member from Uttar Pradesh as a Union minister must be a member of Parliament.
He quit as the defence minister in March 2017 to become the CM of Goa for the fourth time after Goa Forward Party said it would support the BJP, which failed to get a majority in the state assembly election, only if Parrikar is made the CM.
Parrikar will be remembered for his simplicity and humility. He is considered as a rare politician who led the life as a common citizen of the country despite holding high political offices.
Parrikar, whose wife, Medha, died in 2001, is survived by two sons
[This story has been updated at 9.42pm, Sunday, March 17, 2019.]