PANAJI: In his first outreach to the people of the state since May, ailing Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday extended Diwali greetings through an audio clip played on FM radio.
"Namaskar. I wish all Goans Diwali greetings. I pray to God that the coming year be full of happiness and fulfilment. Diwali greetings to you all," Parrikar said in the audio greeting that was sponsored by Goa's Department of Information and Publicity.
This is the first time that Parrikar, who is suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer, has directly communicated with the people of Goa since May 13, when he delivered a video address at a meeting of party booth workers. BJP national President Amit Shah had also attended the meeting.
Parrikar has been in and out of hospitals in Goa, Mumbai, New York and Delhi since February this year.
Ever since he returned from New Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences last month, Parrikar has not made a public appearance, barring three meetings -- one each with the state cabinet, top state BJP leaders and the state Investment Promotion Board.
His long absence from office has prompted the Congress to claim that Parrikar cannot function as Chief Minister on account of his illness and should resign.
After a senior Congress leader last week alleged that the Chief Minister was probably dead, the BJP-led coalition government was forced to release photographs of a frail-looking Parrikar attending the three meetings.