Panaji: Responding to repeated criticism of his dressing sense, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday asked his critics not to judge him on the basis of the clothes he wears but on his performance.
Parrikar was speaking at a function in Panaji organised by the Goa unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party to celebrate the former Goa chief minister's 60th birthday.
"Why judge people from the clothes they wear? I have not joined the army. I have not joined the navy. I have not joined the air force. To join that is difficult, it is easier to join politics," Parrikar said.
The defence minister said he has received several communications from retired military officials asking him to wear a more formal bandhgala for official functions of his ministry.
"Many retired army officials write to me, telling me to wear the bandhgala, which I wear abroad, at functions. I wear it there because I represent India, therefore, I wear a formal dress. Why wear it for a function of my own department," Parrikar said.
The minister, who has rarely veered from his staple tucked-out shirt, trousers and sandals avatar as chief minister of Goa, also said that once he was criticised after an end of his shirt slipped out of the sweater.
"Someone criticised me because an end of my shirt was sticking out of my sweater which I had worn because of the cold in Delhi. They published a photo of the shirt sticking out. I asked if an end of my shirt does stick out, does it make me weaker while going after terrorists," Parrikar said.