Manohar Parrikar – From Goa CM to Union Cabinet Minister

Less than a month before he celebrates his 59th birthday on December 13, the former Goa CM, Manohar Parrikar has been handpicked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to join his Cabinet.

New Delhi: Less than a month before he celebrates his 59th birthday on December 13, the former Goa CM, Manohar Parrikar was handpicked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to join his Cabinet on Sunday.

Parrikar, who is known for his administrative acumen and a clean image, led BJP to a clear victory in Goa with 21 seats out of 40 in March 2012 Assembly polls and secured both the Lok Sabha seats for the party in May 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

He is also considered close to Modi and BJP president Amit Shah. He was one of the first party functionary to openly bat for Narendra Modi in June 2013 as BJP's 'face' for the 2014 General Elections.

Modi has also lavished praise on him and after becoming the PM when he had visited Goa, he had said that Parrikar's managerial abilities were the reason for his success.

Clearly, the man has come a long way since he won his first Assembly election from Panaji in 1994. He has since then, won consecutively from Panaji another four times.

An IITian, Parrikar first became the Goa CM in 2000 when his party toppled the Francisco Sardinha-led government by withdrawing support.

But midway in his term, on February 27, 2002, he dissolved the Assembly. It is said that he made the move after reports surfaced that a different band of party MLAs was plotting against him.

And in June 2002 he led BJP to became the single largest party. He formed the government and became the CM with support from smaller parties and an independent.

However, on January 29, 2005 five BJP MLAs resigned and reduced his government to a minority. After a turbulent Assembly session in February wherein he had to prove his majority and which saw the forced eviction of deputy CM Felipe Neri Rodrigues from the House, Governor SC Jamir dismissed Parrikar's government.

The BJP faced debacle in the ensuing polls in 2007 and the Congress came to power.

Parrikar's came back in March 2012 with a bang. He had launched a personal mass contact programme through the Jan Sampark Yatra before the polls. On the campaign trail he travelled all over Goa and stayed at people's homes.

He had also chaired the public accounts committee and had given a detailed report massive illegalities in Goa's mining.

One of the main highlights of his stint as Goa CM was the elimination of VAT on petrol and effectively reducing petrol price in Goa by Rs 11.

However, the Opposition had accused him of not delivering on many fronts and the media in the state dubbed him a 'U-turn CM'.

At the same time Parrikar has had his share of controversies. In 2009, when he was in the running for the BJP's national president position, Parrikar had raised a few eyebrows when he had likened LK Advani to 'rancid pickle'.

And isnpite of him backing Modi earlier, in the run up to the 2014 General Elections, Parrikar seemed to be building a consensus around him as the prime ministerial candidate with his fans starting a group 'Manohar Parrikar for PM' on the social media, reports had suggested.

He had also once said during an interview that he would have handled the 2002 Gujarat riots better.

However, all that seems a thing of the past.

Parrikar is now all set to begin his stint at the Centre with speculations rife that he would be given the important portfolio of Defence Ministry.