Man-next-door Parrikar returns as Goa CM

Last Updated: Friday, March 9, 2012 - 18:32

Panaji: For BJP leader Manohar Parrikar, who
was sworn in as Goa chief minister on Friday, the third stint in
the top post comes with no coalition strings attached
following the party`s emphatic mandate in the Assembly polls
last week.

The first IITian to become Chief Minister, Parrikar`s two
previous terms -- October 2000-02 and February 2002-05 -- had
been bumpy rides with constant pinpricks from his alliance
partners.

This time, BJP enjoys a simple majority -- 21 in the
40-member assembly and also has a buffer of three MLAs of ally
Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and two Independents.

Goans know the 56-year-old leader for his simplicity,
clean image, development initiative and his new accommodating
and people-friendly side.

Parrikar shot into prominence with the no-holds-barred
campaign against the Congress-led government on the issue of
illegal mining in the state and emerged as the rallying-point
for anti-Congress sentiment.

In his own Panaji assembly constituency, he is considered
as a tough man to beat with his development-oriented image, a
sharp contrast to his rivals.

Residents of Panaji know Parrikar as a guy next door who
will not hesitate to come over for a cup of tea and talk, a
trait that makes it easier for him to have his finger on the
pulse of the people.

A IIT, Mumbai, graduate in metallurgical engineering and
among the first members of BJP in the state, Parrikar has been
instrumental in raising the profile of his party from just
four members in the state assembly in 1994 to its present
status as a ruling party with the highest number of seats in
the state Assembly.

Parrikar got the first taste of power in the state when
he was elected the Chief Minister after BJP withdrew support
to Chief Minister Francisco Sardinha`s government in October
2000.

Parrikar then cobbled up the numbers as BJP had only 10
members in the 40-member House and took oath as Chief Minister
on October 24. It was not a smooth run for him and fed up with
the tall demands of his supporters, the BJP leader dissolved
the Assembly and called for elections in 2002.

He returned to power with a slightly increased mandate
but still four short of majority and formed the government
with the backing of United Goans Democratic Party,
Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and an Indpendent MLA.

The government functioned under the shadow of uncertainty
but Parrikar earned praise for good administration, improving
infrastructure and bringing the International Film Festival of
India (IFFI) to Goa, its new permanent venue.

It was during this stint that his slightly arrogant self
came to the fore which earned him the wrath of his colleagues.

Politically, his move to turn public holidays on Good Friday
and Feast of St Xavier into restricted holidays earned him the
ire of minorities.

In March 2005, the wobbly government collapsed and the
state was put under President`s Rule.

After his earlier misadventures, Parrikar tried to mend
fences with Christians in the state by refraining from raking
up emotive issues and fielding six candidates from the
community in this year`s assembly elections. It brought
instant success as all the six candidates won.

In the run-up to the elections, Parrikar was BJP`s most
visible face who, as Chairman of the Public Accounts
Committee, brought to fore the issue of illegal mining in the
state.

Speaker Pratapsinh Rane had disallowed him from tabling
the PAC report in the assembly, which later turned out to be a
major poll issue.

Born on December 13, 1955, in Mapusa, Parrikar graduated
in 1978 and was awarded by his alma mater with the
Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2001.

Parrikar`s `rancid pickle` comment about BJP veteran LK
Advani had earned him the ire of the party`s central
leadership which was reportedly considering him as a possible
candidate for the organization`s top post.

A father of two sons, Parrikar is a widower.

PTI



First Published: Friday, March 9, 2012 - 18:32

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